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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?


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2 hours ago, Jeanne said:

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. 

Thanks Jeanne, I used to come here often. I hope to find answers. Doubt in something I have such long investments in is upsetting.

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37 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?

All fair points to bring up. The specific language of Nephi regarding the purpose of the record he was helping begin was indicated as needing to restore lost truths that were deliberately removed from the record of the Jews (assuming the Bible) but it seems particularly concerned with the removal of teachings regarding proper Christian worship. This was a hot topic in the 19th century among Restorationists and an extension of the Reformation spirit that saw Catholicism as having corrupted the true teachings of Christ in order to establish a Church in God's place.

But this represents a rather narrow window into which the Nephite prophets supposedly were looking out and into our day, as Moroni lets his readers know. One doesn’t look at the Book of Mormon and see a lot of the troubling theological topics of the early 21st century addressed. One is conscious of the fact the Book of Mormon was written before Darwin, Einstein, post-Colonialism including that of American expansion, the rise of Islamic terrorism, humanism, large democratic pluralistic societies, the rise of corporations as powers rivaling many nation states, the emergence of global communication and travel and what that means for the person of faith, etc., etc., etc.

Granted, the response is that is why one may believe in the need for living prophets if that is one’s belief (though I kinda think they’re also silent on most of the major issues as well…but different thread, that). Either way, the Book of Mormon has a perspective, and it’s most consistent with that of the time of Joseph Smith than it is ours or the period and place it claims to be from originally. All 1000 years of it.

ETA: You may be very interested in reading up on Second Temple Judaism as well. The period of the Hasmonean Dynasty is revealing in what it tells us about what immediately followed the eventual return and Hellenization of the Jews in that gap most Mormons don't think about between the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem and the beginning of the gospels of Luke and Matthew. It contextualizes the New Testiment in history, which religious discussions that assume the Hebrew peoples always believed in a Messiah distort or fail to apprehend in historical terms.

Edited by Honorentheos
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That's great about hacksilver.  But Alma 11 is describing coins...They're using and describing a system of coinage.

I respect your right to believe as you wish, and can certainly see how modern readers could easily derive a coinage interpretation from that chapter. I wish you well with that approach.

 

Meanwhile, I choose another path.
 

 

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3 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. 

Part of that could be due to the editor of a good part of the book is a prophet born after the coming of Christ who sees that as the pivotal experience of his people.  Then there is Nephi's profound vision.  Surely his teaching of that would impact the focus of the prophets that followed him, especially those who were of his family.  It seems to me we need to remember the BoM itself is not constructed as the Bible was.  The plates we have the early text from were kept together so each new recorder likely studied the previous authors and were influenced by them and then the rest of the book is composed by one man and his son.  And there was not the redaction of multiple scribes/editors molding it to their current view.  Relatively uncommon ideas amount the general population might therefore be dominant in the writings.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, boblloyd91 said:

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.

I don't think the believing paradigm and non-believers paradigm are equal. I know apologists want that to be the case in order to legitimize belief in something beyond justified belief. However the two aren't equal. One is wedded to a conclusion and the other says that while belief is possible, it isn't justifiable based on the evidence. Thus the non-believer still is willing to be convinced if there is some new proof. However, given the state of affairs as we know it today, one can easily justify non-belief but cannot justify belief. On the other hand, the believer is locked in and won't budge notwithstanding the mountain of contrary evidence that is before the believer.

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10 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

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

? Anything of value could be used as counterweight.

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.

? I'm not a Mesoamerican advocate.

I am, however, intrigued by your assertion that regions of Asia are candidates for swaths of early Book of Mormon history, and am enjoying the evidence you offer towards that premise.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, James Tunney said:

 One is wedded to a conclusion and the other says that while belief is possible, it isn't justifiable based on the evidence. Thus the non-believer still is willing to be convinced if there is some new proof.

However, given the state of affairs as we know it today, one can easily justify non-belief but cannot justify belief. On the other hand, the believer is locked in and won't budge notwithstanding the mountain of contrary evidence that is before the believer.

Interesting.  

Let me see if I understand.  You have less than 300 posts (at least on this forum), and suddenly you are an expert.  I have over 12,000 posts here and elsewhere for the past 35 years.  Listen up, you don't know what you are talking about (except for a very small number of non-believers).  They have already made up their mind, and have no interest in talking about the facts.  They want to tell me what I believe, they want to tell me what the BOM says (even if they have never read it) and when I give them documented facts they don't CARE.  

It is indeed sad, but that is the fact.

 

Edited by cdowis
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15 minutes ago, cdowis said:

 

I didn't realize the number of posts equates with intellectual ability. Anyway, sorry you feel that way. However at a certain point one has enough evidence to reach a conclusion and for me that was for non-belief. I would venture to say that an overwhelming majority of people on this earth would reach the same conclusion if it was presented to them and it's not because they aren't ready or humble blah blah blah. It's because if one looks rationally at the history, not the one pushed by the church for years, but the actual history, it screams non-belief. God doesn't speak to people through rocks and he doesn't command polygamy.

But of course I have some flaw, right? I haven't posted enough?

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1 hour ago, James Tunney said:

I didn't realize the number of posts equates with intellectual ability.

It has nothing to do with intelligence, and you already know that.  It has to do with the experience of having a dialogue with literally thousands of nonLDS, and tens of thousands of posts.

Do't try to be cute with me, or we will simply agree to ignore each other.

 

Anyway, sorry you feel that way. However at a certain point one has enough evidence to reach a conclusion and for me that was for non-belief.

I am sorry you feel that way but that is between yourself and Heavenly Father.  May I suggest that you consider what Christ said to Peter

Matt 16  [16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
[17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

I would venture to say that an overwhelming majority of people on this earth would reach the same conclusion if it was presented to them

And the majority of people do not read the Bible and do not pray.   Gainig a testimony of the Book of Mormon would result in a life-long commitment, and the majority of people would rather watch TV and live by their own rules.


Anyway, I wish you all the best, and give you the last word.

 

Edited by cdowis
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4 hours ago, RevTestament said:

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.

Departing from Scripture is a different matter, but that doesn't address how the Torah or Old Testament address Christ or life after mortality in comparison to the Book of Mormon. That is unless by "departing from scripture" your referring to editing the Torah to delete references to an afterlife and the purpose of Christ's mission. Is that what you believe happened?

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4 hours ago, Calm said:

Part of that could be due to the editor of a good part of the book is a prophet born after the coming of Christ who sees that as the pivotal experience of his people.  Then there is Nephi's profound vision.  Surely his teaching of that would impact the focus of the prophets that followed him, especially those who were of his family.  It seems to me we need to remember the BoM itself is not constructed as the Bible was.  The plates we have the early text from were kept together so each new recorder likely studied the previous authors and were influenced by them and then the rest of the book is composed by one man and his son.  And there was not the redaction of multiple scribes/editors molding it to their current view.  Relatively uncommon ideas amount the general population might therefore be dominant in the writings.

Hello Calm, Would not all prophets had seen the pivotal nature of Christ's mission?

Jacob 4 For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we aknew of Christ, and we had a hope of his bglory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy cprophets which were before us.

It seems we are limited to believing that the Old Testament prophets were instructed to greatly limit what they reveled  of Christ in writing, or the Torah was edited to hide this knowledge. What do you believe?  

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1 hour ago, cdowis said:

 

This is why it is difficult to engage on this site. Maybe you ought to review what Festinger has to say about religious belief in the face of contrary evidence. Or not. The religious cocoon is nice and comfortable, especially when everyone is in the same believing paradigm.

I don't think it's laziness why people don't want to commit to a high demand religion that lacks evidence to support its tenets. But of course that could be just me and my desires to "sin."

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14 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

Hello Calm, Would not all prophets had seen the pivotal nature of Christ's mission?

I see no reason to assume all prophets see all things the same, but rather they see things that God knows they need to know in order to fulfill the mission they are called by God to do.  They may have had hope because of what they saw themselves, but it may not have been as complete of picture as other prophets had.  After all, it is unlikely imo that Jacob and his descendants saw the same vision as Nephi, but rather they learned of it through his writings and then sought what they needed to receive.  Why would God repeat teachings if they had already learned of them?  However, this might mean that some missed nuances of Nephi's experience that he was unable to convey through writing, just as it is likely that prophets following Moses, like Joshua were not able to understand all that Moses had experienced.

Have you read Margaret Barker's writings on the Messiah?  She is a nonLDS scholar who sees Christ in much of the OT.  She in some ways is seen as fringe, definitely not mainstream, but she may very well be right...especially if LDS scripture is what it says it is.

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5 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

 

ETA: You may be very interested in reading up on Second Temple Judaism as well. The period of the Hasmonean Dynasty is revealing in what it tells us about what immediately followed the eventual return and Hellenization of the Jews in that gap most Mormons don't think about between the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem and the beginning of the gospels of Luke and Matthew. It contextualizes the New Testiment in history, which religious discussions that assume the Hebrew peoples always believed in a Messiah distort or fail to apprehend in historical terms.

Thank you for the tip on Second Temple Judaism, I'll look into it.

It's hard for me to imagine a theological point of doctrine more important to believers than is there life after death. The fact that most Jews don't believe in an afterlife, and the Torah is vague about it in comparison to the Book of Mormon causes me to feel doubt. It may be that Jewish belief in an afterlife was common in the past, but has been lost though time, but I doubt it. I'd be happy to change my opinion if it could be explained.

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40 minutes ago, James Tunney said:

This is why it is difficult to engage on this site. Maybe you ought to review what Festinger has to say about religious belief in the face of contrary evidence. Or not. The religious cocoon is nice and comfortable, especially when everyone is in the same believing paradigm.

I don't think it's laziness why people don't want to commit to a high demand religion that lacks evidence to support its tenets. But of course that could be just me and my desires to "sin."

 Matt 16  [16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
[17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

You have no idea what this means, do you.  For you, this is incompreshensible

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3 hours ago, James Tunney said:

I didn't realize the number of posts equates with intellectual ability. Anyway, sorry you feel that way. However at a certain point one has enough evidence to reach a conclusion and for me that was for non-belief. I would venture to say that an overwhelming majority of people on this earth would reach the same conclusion if it was presented to them and it's not because they aren't ready or humble blah blah blah. It's because if one looks rationally at the history, not the one pushed by the church for years, but the actual history, it screams non-belief. God doesn't speak to people through rocks and he doesn't command polygamy.

 

Ah....I am so sorry you limit God and determine for God what and how he does things.  How often has he asked your permission on stuff?

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31 minutes ago, Calm said:

I see no reason to assume all prophets see all things the same, but rather they see things that God knows they need to know in order to fulfill the mission they are called by God to do.  They may have had hope because of what they saw themselves, but it may not have been as complete of picture as other prophets had.  After all, it is unlikely imo that Jacob and his descendants saw the same vision as Nephi, but rather they learned of it through his writings and then sought what they needed to receive.  Why would God repeat teachings if they had already learned of them?  However, this might mean that some missed nuances of Nephi's experience that he was unable to convey through writing, just as it is likely that prophets following Moses, like Joshua were not able to understand all that Moses had experienced.

Have you read Margaret Barker's writings on the Messiah?  She is a non LDS scholar who sees Christ in much of the OT.  She in some ways is seen as fringe, definitely not mainstream, but she may very well be right...especially if LDS scripture is what it says it is.

Hi Calm, It's a fair point about the role of prophets differing, and could to a point help explain, but I feel the point doesn't cover the enormity of the contrast between the OT and the BOM.

I haven't read Margaret Baker. I've read about her a little. Good suggestion Calm, Is there a particular book you would recommend?

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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Hello Calm, Would not all prophets had seen the pivotal nature of Christ's mission?

It seems we are limited to believing that the Old Testament prophets were instructed to greatly limit what they reveled  of Christ in writing, or the Torah was edited to hide this knowledge. What do you believe?  

Jesus himself said that Abraham foresaw Christ's ministry, and rejoiced. (John 8:56)

Helaman 8 confirms the same, and adds:

  •  18 Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were amany before the days of Abraham who were called by the border of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them.
  •  19 And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet aZenosdid testify boldly; for the which he was slain.
  •  20 And behold, also aZenock, and also bEzias, and alsocIsaiah, and dJeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of eJerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah. O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy?

So back to John 8:56. Jesus plainly said that Abraham foresaw Christ's ministry. The key question is, what happened to Abraham's ancient testimony of something that important? Your answer to *that* question might answer your other question(s).

Edited by notHagoth7
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41 minutes ago, notHagoth7 said:

So back to John 8:56. Jesus plainly said that Abraham foresaw Christ's ministry. The key question is, what happened to Abraham's ancient testimony of something that important? Your answer to *that* question might answer your other question(s).

Strong point notHagoth7. 

Daniel 12:2 seems a strong indication of resurrection and reward conditioned on our faith and behavior. Maybe I need to speak to some of my more religious Jewish friends about how they interpret this.

Daniel  And many of them that asleep in the dust of the earth shall bawake, some to ceverlasting life, and some to dshameand eeverlasting contempt.

Edited by Risingtide
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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Hi Calm, It's a fair point about the role of prophets differing, and could to a point help explain, but I feel the point doesn't cover the enormity of the contrast between the OT and the BOM.

I haven't read Margaret Baker. I've read about her a little. Good suggestion Calm, Is there a particular book you would recommend?

I have been told her earlier books are the better ones.  I am not an expert on them, don't have the background to evaluate them.  Kevin Christiansen is familiar with them.  You might want to PM him for his suggestions.  If I recall correctly, her book the Great Angel might be the most relevant one you want:

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Angel-Study-Israels-Second/dp/0664253954

A number of her papers are online here:

http://www.margaretbarker.com

 

Edited by Calm
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28 minutes ago, Calm said:

I have been told her earlier books are the better ones.  I am not an expert on them, don't have the background to evaluate them.  Kevin Christiansen is familiar with them.  You might want to PM him for his suggestions.  If I recall correctly, her book the Great Angel might be the most relevant one you want:

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Angel-Study-Israels-Second/dp/0664253954

A number of her papers are online here:

http://www.margaretbarker.com

 

Thanks for the links Calm. How do I PM someone?

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4 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Departing from Scripture is a different matter, but that doesn't address how the Torah or Old Testament address Christ or life after mortality in comparison to the Book of Mormon. That is unless by "departing from scripture" your referring to editing the Torah to delete references to an afterlife and the purpose of Christ's mission. Is that what you believe happened?

I think the Torah we have is fairly accurate, but may have received a small edit or two. Here the Septuagint may have caught one where it seems to say YHWH as a son of the Most High was to receive Israel as His inheritance. The KJV reads a little differently.

I don't believe I said anyone was "departing from scripture." I was saying the Jews misinterpret it, so depart from it in their understanding as evidenced in the pharisaic writings. That doesn't mean they changed the Torah, but that they just interpret differently than a Christian would.  I believe I gave at least one way the Torah addresses Christ - He is El Shaddai in the Torah. He is also the servant who was sent in the Father's name of YHWH in Deut 18, etc. In the Tanakh He is the Holy One, and the Mighty One of Jacob. There are others. The Book of Mormon makes it quite clear Christ is the Holy One the Tanakh is speaking of.

Edited by RevTestament
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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Thanks for the links Calm. How do I PM someone?

I figured it would be easier to do it than explain and found out he isn't receiving PMs.

Would you like to start a thread about her?  He will probably notice that, he shows up every week or so.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

I think the Torah we have is fairly accurate, but may have received a small edit or two. Here the Septuagint may have caught one where it seems to say YHWH as a son of the Most High was to receive Israel as His inheritance. The KJV reads a little differently.

I don't believe I said anyone was "departing from scripture." I was saying the Jews misinterpret it, so depart from it in their understanding as evidenced in the pharisaic writings. That doesn't mean they changed the Torah, but that they just interpret differently than a Christian would.  I believe I gave at least one way the Torah addresses Christ - He is El Shaddai in the Torah. He is also the servant who was sent in the Father's name of YHWH in Deut 18, etc. In the Tanakh He is the Holy One, and the Mighty One of Jacob. There are others. The Book of Mormon makes it quite clear Christ is the Holy One the Tanakh is speaking of.

Hi RT, I'm not claiming there are no Old Testiment references to Christ and His mission, or passages that address an afterlife, but the detailed explanation of Christ's mission and post mortal life in the Book of Mormon differs sharply with the scant attention given these subjects in the Old Testiment. 

 

 

 

 

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      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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