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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?


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1 hour ago, cdowis said:

I don't see how any relationship between measures in Judea and the Nephites anything more than something mildly interesting.  Sort of like chiasmus.
Very forgettable.

Is chiamus really so forgettable, cdowis?

Book of Mormon Central, “Why is the Presence of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon Significant? (Mosiah 5:10-12),” KnoWhy #166, August 16, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-is-the-presence-of-chiasmus-in-the-book-of-mormon-significant .

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Was Chiasmus Used in Nephite Record Keeping? (Helaman 6:10),” KnoWhy #177, August 31, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-was-chiasmus-used-in-nephite-record-keeping .

 

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43 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Would now be a good time to also point out that Alma 11 is pretty clearly describing individually identifiable weights of metal to which consistent and specific values are ascribed, which is also the definition of what a "coin" is?

Was wondering how that works myself. Sorenson mentions the metal money in Ecuador, "which aren't coins as such".

Metal money, not quite coins?

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

Would now be a good time to also point out that Alma 11 is pretty clearly describing individually identifiable weights of metal to which consistent and specific values are ascribed, which is also the definition of what a "coin" is?

No, actually.

A coin is a minted piece of metal.

Hacksilver, on the other hand, was a somewhat different approach to value - where various pieces of silver were added to a scale until they matched a specified weight. 

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11 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Was wondering how that works myself. Sorenson mentions the metal money in Ecuador, "which aren't coins as such".

Metal money, not quite coins?

As in, hacksilver...well attested in ancient Palestine and in later northern Europe.

ab3d1f3d166da510937d1a3b4d37cf92.jpg

 

 

Edited by notHagoth7
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14 minutes ago, notHagoth7 said:

As in, hacksilver...well attested in ancient Palestine and in later northern Europe.

Nice. Can you make some out of cocoa beans or obsidian?

The problem isn't that these systems and currencies didn't exist in the right time period, the problem is they aren't (AFAIK) found in Mesoamerica.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Is chiamus really so forgettable, cdowis?

Book of Mormon Central, “Why is the Presence of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon Significant? (Mosiah 5:10-12),” KnoWhy #166, August 16, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-is-the-presence-of-chiasmus-in-the-book-of-mormon-significant .

 

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Was Chiasmus Used in Nephite Record Keeping? (Helaman 6:10),” KnoWhy #177, August 31, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-was-chiasmus-used-in-nephite-record-keeping .

You obviously have a very dry sense of humor.   Anyway, "forgettable" just doesn't describe it, but I give you the last word on the subject.
 

Edited by cdowis
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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

If you can't debate the facts, turn to invective and to psychologizing everyone who might see things differently from you.  What you are really saying is that the archeologists are all wrong, including Bill Dever.  Your real argument is with the non-Mormon sources and your failure to take them fully into account.

I'm saying what's described in Alma 11 is not a base 8 system, and the 56 shekel maneh is an invention. Your apologetic is nonsense.

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To reiterate the status of Robert F. Smith's apologetic:

The Claim: It makes the case that the Nephite system can be favorably compared to ancient near eastern systems that made use of the shekel as the base currency. The Problem: The Book of Mormon text itself tells the reader there is no recognizable relationship between the Nephite system described in Alma 11 and Jewish measurements or that used in Jerusalem.

The Claim: The discovered relationship between Egyptian decimal-based weight used in trade and the Judaean Shekel base-8 system used to reconcile the two is compatible with the Nephite system which can be favorably compared to the shekel. The Problem: The Nephite system as described in the Book of Mormon is not a base-8 system. It lacks units at the eights and sixty-four positions, which is not unlikely claiming the US decimal system would still be decimal but lacked a denomination for a 100-cent dollar or 10 dollar bill, but instead had a complicated denomination based on the sum of a penny, nickel, and dime.

The Claim: The relationship between the Egyptian/Judaean reconciled system relies on demonstrating the shekel to qite relationship described by secular archaeologists as demonstrated in the archaeological record supports the same ratios occuring in the Nephite system up to the highest units described in the Book of Mormon (the onti and limnah) The Problem: Sources for Robert's apologetic are careful to describe the record up through the 40 shekel/50 qite/5 dbn and then reference the unattested in the archaeological record maneh of either 50 or 60 shekels. Robert has assumed the relationship up through 40 shekels should continue up to 56 shekels or 70 qites. He does this to try and support a Nephite onti/limnah as the equivilent of 7/8 shekel = mina. Not only is this nonsensical to believe that actual living Nephites would have a system whose largest unit is based on a fraction of a foreign currency 500 years in their past and an ocean away, it demands a maneh be equal to 56 shekels in the iron age near east despite zero supporting evidence for this and direct evidence this would never occur to be reasonable to the very expert from whom Robert has drawn his conclusions. Of side interest to this problem, actual evidence from the archaeological record DOES support a 128 shekel, 1.6 dbn weight which would mean the shekel unit is equivilent to two 64 shekel weights, a base position in the base-8 system, and reconcilable with the Egyptian decimal system at higher weights outside of common trade useage. A 400 shekel weight has been discovered in the archaeological record which would be consistent with this progression as the next point in which the base-8 shekel and the Egyptian decimal system would converge. This tangent illustrates how the reality of the reconciled system works, and that this differs meaningfully from the pigeon hole Robert would see it conforming to in order to create a Nephite-Judaean-Egyptian reconciled system despite there being zero possibility these three groups could trade with one another. (Nephites being, at best, in the new world and at worst fictional).

The Claim: The phonetic similarities between various near eastern names and the names in the Book of Mormon demonstrate a connection. The Problem: The terms used in the apologetic range over thousands of years and various geographies in the near east. The potential to find similarities is almost endless using this methodology and therefore meaningless.

There are other continuing issues for Robert, like his insistence on using Mina to described an Iron Age Judaean unit when the Maneh was in use; the complete failure of the apologetic to tie Alma 11 to the new world 500 years after the Nephites would have left the near east and been in trade with whatever peoples were present around them; the lack of a Nephite trade fingerprint matching Alma 11 found in the archaeological record of the New World, etc.

As apologetics go, it's flaws run from the purely mathematical to the physical. The fact it retains support is a lesson regarding the will to believe.

Edited by Honorentheos
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8 hours ago, cinepro said:

Would now be a good time to also point out that Alma 11 is pretty clearly describing individually identifiable weights of metal to which consistent and specific values are ascribed, which is also the definition of what a "coin" is?

While I tend to agree with you, being on this particular board I assume most readers would immediately move to an "asked and answered" mindset that Alma 11 is really describing weights. Meeting those with this view where they are, the apologetics required to reconcile Alma 11 to any place in the physical world and appropriate time frame remain problematic even if one removes the obvious anachronism of the Nephites having a currency system of standardized silver and gold coins.

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16 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

The Claim: The phonetic similarities between various near eastern names and the names in the Book of Mormon demonstrate a connection. The Problem: The terms used in the apologetic range over thousands of years and various geographies in the near east. The potential to find similarities is almost endless using this methodology and therefore meaningless.

One thing I really really dislike is fake apologetics, and, as far as I have followed the discussion, you have made some good points.  However, as I have pointed out, this particular "problem" brings up the possibility of the influence of the Jaredites, loan words, into Nephite language.

Let's be specific, Latin language is incorporated into the English language (sine die, sincere, etc) which "ranges over thousands of years".  In terms of "various geographies", the Jaredite language may have many "children" because they were close to the Indo-European language.  They were, after all, living near the Tower of Babylon, which I assume you reject as a myth, but there it is.

What was the source of "sheum" which is an Akkadian word for barley, and used in the Nephite language in the context of grains.  A remarkable coincidence, especially when we look at Paanchi and Pahoran as authentic ancient names as well.

So your "problem" itself seems to have a problem in the context of other interesting BOM names.  Thus, we are not talking about a wide ranging geography, but one specific region with a linguistic commonality among its inhabitants.

Edited by cdowis
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4 minutes ago, cdowis said:

One thing I really really dislike is fake apologetics, and, as far as I have followed the discussion, you have made some good points.  However, as I have pointed out, this particular "problem" brings up the possibility of the influence of the Jaredites into Nephite language.

Let's be specific, Latin language is incorporated into the English language (sine die, sincere, etc) which "ranges over thousands of years".  In terms of "various geographies", the Jaredite language may have many "children" because they were close to the Indo-European language.  They were, after all, living near the Tower of Babylon, which I assume you reject as a myth, but there it is.

What was the source of "sheum" which is an Akkadian word for barley, and used in the Nephite language in the context of grains.  A remarkable coincidence, especially when we look at Paanchi and Pahoran as authentic ancient names as well.

So your "problem" itself seems to have a problem in the context of other interesting BOM names.

The problem as I see it is that it's based on casting an impossibly large net. Were it based on demonstrating linguistic migration between terms it might be interesting. But again, we lack the Nephite language to even be able to attempt this, and the time and geographical remove is immense.

Edited by Honorentheos
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On August 21, 2016 at 7:35 AM, 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!

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

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11 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

I really can't help you but others will..just wanted to personally welcome you to the board.  Have a wonderful day and hope you can find some answers to your questions. 

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27 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

Kevin Christiansen could help you there!

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7 hours ago, notHagoth7 said:

No, actually.

A coin is a minted piece of metal.

Hacksilver, on the other hand, was a somewhat different approach to value - where various pieces of silver were added to a scale until they matched a specified weight. 

That's great about hacksilver.  But Alma 11 is describing coins, or something that is used like a coin to the degree that it is functionally a coin.  I don't know if it was round, and if they inscribed little pictures of Nephi on them, but they're coins.

First, coins are a system of "weights and measures".  The reason people make coins is because they don't want to carry around a little scale and metal testing kit to test for weight and purity every time they use the metal for exchange.  When I go and buy a candy bar for a "Quarter", the store owner doesn't want to have to weight the metal and test for it's content.  So we make it look certain way, and he can just look at the piece of metal I give him and recognize it as a "Quarter" (obviously, we'll ignore the debasing of currency by using other metals; originally a US "Quarter" was a measure of silver).

One of the clues is found in Alma 11:25.

If they were talking about a simple measuring system for gold and silver, then you would refer to an amount of metal as "it".  If I am giving you five pounds of silver, then I would say "Here is five pounds of silver; do you want it?"

But if I'm giving you coins, I refer to them as "them".  They are each individually valued and visually identifiable pieces of metal.  "Here are five silver dollars; do you want them?"

Alma 11:25:

Quote

 

Behold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee—when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me;

If it was a system of weights and measures, then you would say "Behold this six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee - when thou hadst it in thy hard to retain it from me;"

They're using and describing a system of coinage.

Edited by cinepro
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22 minutes ago, boblloyd91 said:

Kevin Christiansen could help you there!

Yeah, shift to a believing paradigm and all contrary evidence will be magically discounted.  I think that is the only way to overcome the seemingly insurmountable proof against historicity.  Just simply choose to stay in a believing cocoon.  If you have doubts, believe anyway because after you die you will find out the truth or have faith that someone will come up with the answers in the future, etc., etc.  Or just choose to ignore it.  History doesn't matter anyway so don't bother yourself with it.

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44 minutes ago, James Tunney said:

Yeah, shift to a believing paradigm and all contrary evidence will be magically discounted.  I think that is the only way to overcome the seemingly insurmountable proof against historicity.  Just simply choose to stay in a believing cocoon.  If you have doubts, believe anyway because after you die you will find out the truth or have faith that someone will come up with the answers in the future, etc., etc.  Or just choose to ignore it.  History doesn't matter anyway so don't bother yourself with it.

Wow.....talk about assumptions. I'm also getting a bit of an arrogant vibe from this post, in that you're implying if people disagree with you they must be stupid and in denial. I have observed Kevin's posts (as well as that of other well informed LDS posters) over the years in their posts here and have a hard time seeing what you're saying about disregarding history and other relevant topics. We all certainly have our biases, and I do feel it's important to be aware of them when searching for truth.

In looking at the above post, I think you would do well to also acknowledge your biases and avoid making authoritative statements that imply you know our hearts and minds. It makes it harder to take you seriously.

Edited by boblloyd91
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10 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Is chiamus really so forgettable, cdowis?

Book of Mormon Central, “Why is the Presence of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon Significant? (Mosiah 5:10-12),” KnoWhy #166, August 16, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-is-the-presence-of-chiasmus-in-the-book-of-mormon-significant .

 

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Was Chiasmus Used in Nephite Record Keeping? (Helaman 6:10),” KnoWhy #177, August 31, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-was-chiasmus-used-in-nephite-record-keeping .

 

 

 

There's a book written by a Latter-day Saint regarding Chiasmus as being the "language of the lord" since it's found in the Doctrine and Covenants and other directly non-Hebrew sources. You can pick up some of it through Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=5EEJKNhp99UC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

The argument of that particular book was if complex and meaningful chiasmus can be found in, say, the Doctrine and Convenants comparable to what one finds in other scripture, then the origin must be God.

Some may view this is compelling argumentation for divine influence in LDS scripture. Others, I suspect, will see in it evidence that chiasmus may have occurred naturally in some common partisipants' attempts to mimic scriptural voice when composing LDS scripture.

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6 minutes ago, boblloyd91 said:

Wow.....talk about assumptions. I'm also getting a bit of a "poisoning the well" vibe from this post. 

Well isn't that what the believing paradigm is about? One must assume the church is true in the first place then try it out right? If it works, then one must put oneself in the believing cocoon and stay in the boat, because all contrary so called evidence against belief will vanish in the end.

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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

Before we went down the Alma 11 rabbit hole early on in the thread we had a brief flurry of discussion points over the anachronistic nature of the theology of the Book of Mormon. I think it's pretty clear that the theology of the Book of Mormon is even more specific than showing familiarity with the New Testiment. In fact, it's incredibly familiar with the specific theological debates taking place around the turn of the 19th century in the young United States of America. It's problematic that the theological discussions in the Book of Mormon would have been much more familiar to those reading it not long after it's publication than were it to be perfectly translated into ancient languages of the new world and transported back into time to be read by the known inhabitants of the Americas two thousand years ago.

I think that goes hand in hand with your question. Some may attempt to claim certain paradigms within Mormon apologetics favorably compete against others due to various states of the evidence. But you'll not hear these same people acknowledge that the vast majority of the evidence and, with it, broad concensus among the informed and lay person generally, is that the Book of Mormon was a product of the 19th century. The early 19th century theological context is just one points among many that illustrate this, but it's worth pointing out how compelling this is as an issue.

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2 hours ago, Risingtide said:

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

The BoM is quite different from the OT, but I believe Christ is much more represented in the OT than Jews and Athanasian Christians realize. This is because Jews misinterpret it. I believe El Shaddai in the OT is actually Christ meeting with Moses and Abraham and yes - Jacob. The Jews came to believe El Shaddai was "the Almighty God" as it is translated in the Septuagint. But their own language mitigates against that translation. In the Apostle's Creed El Shaddai becomes the Almighty Father of the Son. El Gibbor means the Mighty God. El Shaddai lost its meaning but I believe means something like The Power who weans from the breast. I believe Christ Himself made reference to it in John. Yet, Athanasian Christians inevitably believe Christ was referring to the passage regarding Moses. So, in the OT we have the Father as El Elyon, the Most High Power. Christ as El Shaddai. And both as YHWH Elohim - "I am the life/word of the family of immovable powers." How is it that the wise men of the east ie some of the lost tribe in the Parthian Empire, knew Christ was to be born, but the Jews didn't recognize it? Jews typically interpret the suffering servant of Isaiah as themselves as descendants of Jacob/Israel. Whereas Christians see the scepter arising out of Judah to be Christ, the inheritor of God's holy mountains, except they don't really believe that since they believe Christ is equal to the Father and therefore doesn't really have any inheritance since "God doesn't change." The Book of Mormon teaches the true nature of the Godhead better than the Bible - that Christ is equal to the Father as His agent, but is still the servant of the Father. The Bible kind of leaves it to the reader to understand, and there came to be a lot of different interpretations which is how we eventually ended up with the doctrines of the trinity, and the proscriptions against anyone who didn't accept the creeds - this tendency still survives today in those who claim anyone who doesn't accept the Nicene Creed is not a Christian. Hence, if I believe that Christ was begotten in covenant by the oath "this day I have begotten thee" as the Bible teaches instead of the teaching of the creed that Christ "is begotten before all aeons/ages/worlds" the creed teaches I am not a Christian...

I don't believe the "eternal rewards" are very clearly expressed in the BoM. I believe the plan of salvation is, and a correct teaching about the next estate is(ie pre-resurrection). The BoM teaching actually reflects the teaching of Ecclesiastes that as spirits we return to that God from which we came. Now if we are created by God out of dust, how can our spirits "return" to God who "gave" it? Answer: our spirits weren't created. Where was your spirit before you were born, if it didn't pre-exist? Did you exist in the beginning when God created "everything" - all powers and principalities? If not either God didn't ever finish creating, or something is wrong with the traditional Christian understanding. Anyway, I am merely trying to point out that the traditional understanding of the Bible alone is much more problematic than the Bible coupled with the Book of Mormon.

Edited by RevTestament
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4 minutes ago, James Tunney said:

Well isn't that what the believing paradigm is about? One must assume the church is true in the first place then try it out right? If it works, then one must put oneself in the believing cocoon and stay in the boat, because all contrary so called evidence against belief will vanish in the end.

To a point, we all have paradigms, and while I certainly agree with a believing paradigm being a valid idea, I think it's just as fair to assume that there is a doubtful paradigm as well which can color our view of these things.

I also think it's important to be aware of confirmation bias, which to be fair both believers and non believers need to acknowledge. I think that often critics ignore or wave away the more compelling evidences, while making a great deal about anachronisms. Whereas believing LDS have a tendency to do the opposite. That's why I enjoy Brant Gardner's work, he is a believer in the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and has pointed out some convincing evidence for the book's historicity, but also openly acknowledges that there are some things we don't have an answer for right now.

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2 hours ago, Risingtide said:

What I'm having a bit of a struggle with is the New Testiment concepts that are so often expressed in the Book of Mormon prior to Christ coming. There is such a striking difference between that and what is expressed in the Old Testiment. The Messiah is mentioned so sparingly on the Old Testiment. In the Book of Mormon Christ is the central focus. In the Book of Mormon an afterlife with eternal rewards for righteousness are so clearly and repeatedly expressed. Among practicing Jews belief in an afterlife is a minority position. I'm having a hard time reconciling these differences. 

As to the Messiah, I suggest considering, for example, the specific timeline foretold for His ministry and death provided in Daniel 9 - which matches precisely the chronologies provided in the Old and New Testaments. An appropriate counterpart for Lehi's 600-year Messianic timeline. (It is worth noting that Daniel and Lehi were contemporaries.) http://candlestickstudio.com/files/1844inProphecy.pdf#page=20

I can't speak as to whether belief in an afterlife was a minority or a majority position, but Job himself testified that despite the destruction of his body, he knew he would see God in the flesh. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/job/19.26?lang=eng#25 The last chapter of Daniel likewise testifies of resurrection.

In such a context, it is noteworthy what Ezekiel (another contemporary of Lehi and Nephi) testified of the caliber of both Daniel and Job. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/ezek/14.14?lang=eng#13

Based on such things, with Messianic promises not just in Daniel but elsewhere (compare Daniel 9's counterpart testimony in Isaiah 53), and with attestations of an afterlife for the faithful, does it matter whether such truths were widely believed, or only believed by a smaller subset? We simply don't know how widespread such things were, but would it dilute their truth one whit even if such things had been rejected by the majority of ancient Jews?  The point is, the precedent for teaching such Nephite truths is clearly evidenced among prominent men of God in the Old World.

Thoughts?

 

 

Edited by notHagoth7
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Thank you Honorentheos for responding. Your words seem fair. I'm sure you've read that BOM prophets new our time through revelation, so they could address the misconceptions of our day. And we read in the BOM that many plain and precious truths were removed from scripture, but would Jewish scribes remove the central  purpose of the Lord? I'm not a scholar or and expert in Judaism, but from my experience with those religious Jews I've know, I have a hard time believing that should their prophets had such knowledge revealed and written, it could have been edited out of scripture. Why would God provide BOM prophets such explicit insight and deny the same to the Torah's prophets?

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6 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

Thank you Honorentheos for responding. Your words seem fair. I'm sure you've read that BOM prophets new our time through revelation, so they could address the misconceptions of our day. And we read in the BOM that many plain and precious truths were removed from scripture, but would Jewish scribes remove the central  purpose of the Lord? I'm not a scholar or and expert in Judaism, but from my experience with those religious Jews I've know, I have a hard time believing that should their prophets had such knowledge revealed and written, it could have been edited out of scripture. Why would God provide BOM prophets such explicit insight and deny the same to the Torah's prophets?

A small course in Judaism will teach you that the Jews depart from scripture in their understanding. Thus Jesus railed against the traditions and teachings of the Pharisees. This is evident somewhat in the Targums, and much more evident in the Midrash, Talmud and other Pharisaic writings.

You may notice that the OT is usually represented as a word for word dictation from the Lord. The BoM is giving a spiritual understanding of the law based upon the Holy Spirit and visions rather than a word for word dictation. In a literal sense Judah is giving the law, and Manasseh is acting as Seer or interpreter in the BoM. Hence all the quoting of Isaiah with interpretation.

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      "People should give of themselves selflessly"
       
      I would maintain that we "know this is true" just based on being human and having lived a few years on this planet.  It works for humanity, and so we see it as a "good thing to do".
       
      Here David Letterman "bears his testimony" of the principle, as recorded in Reader's Digest, March, 2014, page 34
       
      I think this is a true principle, but not because David Letterman wrote it.
       
      I think that Santa Claus would also endorse it.
       
      But someone might argue that it could not be a true principle because there is no evidence that Santa lives at the North Pole or that Santa even exists.
       
      But even mythic figures can teach true principles.
       
      (By that I am not meaning to imply that God or Christ are "myths" in the sense that word is often taken hereabouts- ie: "fictitious" )
       
      I find this similar to those who think that the scriptures require historical evidence to be "true".  I do not hold that position.  I believe that the scriptures ARE "historical", contain true history, but that fact must be taken on faith where no evidence exists, which is actually most cases.  So historicity of scripture is itself a faith-based position.  That is why those who do not have the faith, debate the position.
       
      Further, Mother Theresa, a historiclal figure, who lived in India, would definitely also endorse the statement on giving as being "true".
       
      Are you more likely to endorse the principle because David Letterman is a historical person?   Or would you endorse it because you know it is true based on your own experience?
       
      How is historicity relevant to the truth of this statement?  It appears that some believe such moral statements are "true" strictly because they are in the scriptures and the scriptures can be proven "true" by their historicity.
       
      Again, I do not intend to contribute much because I have made my opinions clear here already.
       
      I fail to see how historicity is at all relevant to the truth of such statements as this moral belief, and therefore I question that historicity is relevant to the moral beliefs preached in scripture, though many seem to think that historicity absolutely makes or breaks the truth of such propositions.   I don't see it at all.
       
      Educate me.
    • By mfbukowski
      In another thread about the historicity of the Book of Mormon, now locked for inexplicable reasons, I made the following comment
      http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/64358-is-belief-in-the-book-mormon-as-history-important/?p=1209432815
       
      bcuzbcuz returned this VERY important point, about which I think everyone has questions.  This raises important issues key to most people here, and I propose we deal with it directly in this thread
       
       
      I thought for a minute and had very little time, and my first notion was to answer quickly and somewhat snarkily - as is my usual "natural man" tendency when I post with little time, something like this:
       
      Yeah, well we all have to deal with the fact that ALL scriptural interpretation effectively IS the "philosophies of men mingled with scripture", like it or not.  It is impossible to separate scripture from its interpretation when we think about theological issues, because we grow up with philosophical predispositions inherited from our times.
       
      Those who grew up in the church inherited 19th century interpretations, and now we have at least 20th century interpretations- no telling what will happen when we finally start making 21st century interpretations of the Book of Mormon.
       
      Of course I never made that reply because the thread was locked.  Hence this discussion.
       
      New data brings with it new interpretations of data, and that is the natural process of human thought.  Looking out at the horizon, one could well believe the earth is flat, and so many thought for thousands of years.
       
      But the data made that belief difficult.  Ships going over the horizon disappeared from the bottom up, the last thing visible being the top of their mast.  The view from the ship was similar- the first thing to disappear looking back into port was the shoreline, then the hills, then the highest mountains, but eventually they also disappeared into the distance.
       
      The only explanation possible for this phenomenon was that the earth was "in fact" round, and so that "modern" conception was born.
       
      There is no reason to think that religious thinking is any different.  YET  MORMONS GET CRITICISM for following the same rules of thought that have been used by mankind forever.
       
      Paradigms shift.  There is a famous philosopher of Science, Thomas Kuhn, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn, who has gotten credit largely for "discovering" paradigm shifts, but that idea had been around for perhaps a hundred years before he came along.
       
      If you aren't familiar with the concept, that wikipedia article is a good place to start.
       
      But because we have been raised with the paradigm that "TRUTH never changes" - a pagan Greek idea- we are stuck with the Neoplatonic sectarian Christian idea that this is the case.
       
      Now we are reaping the damage from accepting the philosophy and theology of the apostasy, and grafting the apostasy "philosophies of men mingled with scripture" into the Restoration "philosophies of men mingled with scripture" with results that leave us with questions like the one bcuzbcuz raises.   This is not a trivial issue, it goes to the core of Mormon doctrine and its interpretation.
       
      So how do we get out of this quandary?   Come on class, pretend we are seminary.  What is the usual right answer to all questions in seminary?
       
      "Pray, follow the spirit, and keep the commandments"
       
      Philosophies come and go, interpretations come and go, science even comes and goes, new paradigms come and go, but God will always communicate with his children.  It is what He does.  It's his job as our Father.  He has to bring to pass our immortality and eternal lives.
       
      You can't do that without communication. 
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