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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?


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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Do you really fear reading the text itself to the extent that you will continue this tortuous justification for dealing in mythmaking by local yokels?  There are certainly intelligent analysts who attribute virtually everything in the BofM to 19th century sources, but who are not prepared to compare their answers with those who posit ancient sources.  And that is the crucial comparison, as I have pointed out in brief in my “The Preposterous Book of Mormon: A Singular Advantage,” lecture, August 8, 2014, at the annual FAIRMORMON Conference, Provo, Utah, online at http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PREPOSTEROUS-BOOK-OF-MORMON.pdf .

I guess we have different definitions for "preponderance".

Taking even the selective evidence (how I'd term your evidence over the majority of evidence that contradicts the descriptions of the Americas offered up in the Book of Mormon) we have a selection of ideas from words found in the Book of Mormon tied to a veritable salad bar of potential sources ranging from Egyptian to Aramaic to "hypothetical Hebrew". It presents the notion that the Documentary Hypothesis "E" source is demonstrated in the Book of Mormon without recognizing that this is like saying, "Harry Potter is a Poe-sourced form of fiction". It's illogical to speak of the Book of Mormon as having an E or J source, period.  I really don't know how to make it clear how improbable just saying that sounds other than to hope that when you look more carefully at the claims of the Documentary Hypothesis you see that it isn't speaking of a literary style that can be passed down through the ages; that by the time of Lehi the J and E sources had been merged, and that it would be simply categorically overly creative to imagine the Book of Mormon composed over 1000 years well into the Christian Era demonstrating a particular voice from first temple Judaism that ceased to be independently expressed a century before Lehi is claimed to have lived. 

I've mentioned elsewhere the weights in the Book of Mormon align incredibly well with the English system. That the "preponderance" of evidence is for the 19th century authorship of the Book of Mormon is going to be the case as long as archeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, historians, theologians, and on and on among the scientific and cultural specialists continue to expand the boundaries of science out away from the 19th century mythology about the origins of the Native Americas still embeded in the Book of Mormon's central story line.

You can bounce a rubber ball against a tank as much as you want, and claim the sheer volume of blows counts for something I guess. It doesn't change the reality of how insignificant all those blows by a rubber ball against a tank really are, though.

Edited by Honorentheos
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9 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Just curious. Is there any place where the Book of Mormon would have fit theologically in 421 AD?

Did the Thomas Christians in India debate infant baptism? Nestorians? Church of the East?

I'd just like to get beyond Mesoamerica for a moment and understand what other Judeo-Christian traditions that ran parallel to the Nephites were doing/thinking.

What do you think Nephite Christianity consists of? Recognizing, I think, that there is an unusual uniformity in the Book of Mormon in it's expression of Christian beliefs over a period covering 1000 years. Where do we find that level of suppression of theological evolution? Even the 150+ years of the LDS faith has seen tension and recalibration as social interaction between Fortress Utah saints in the time of Brigham Young have evolved and modern Mormonism reflects something that perhaps Joseph Smith wouldn't recognize. The Bible contains multitudes of Christian beliefs even after canonical selection weeded out the most deviant texts and beliefs and an active policing of heresy. How realistic do you think the Book of Mormon is when considered to be a pre-Christ expression of Christianity that was either isolated (if one accepts the hemispheric model of the Book of Mormon) or interacting with very foreign religious beliefs (if one accepts the Limited Geography Model)? I think that it is unlikely we should expect to find what we do find in the Book of Mormon were it truly ancient and reflecting a thousand years of beliefs held by an active culture such as the Book of Mormon describes. It makes much more sense as mythology describing an idealized form of Christianity meant to engage in the 19th century debate over original Christian teachings and the correct way to worship.

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18 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

I think we keep failing to connect. It's not that what Joseph wrote into the Book of Mormon is stolen from another groups' theology present in the 19th century US. It's that the theology described in the Book of Mormon didn't exist in the time it was supposedly composed. It never takes on issues of proto-Christianity engaging with Native American beliefs in what would have been the dominant parent culture around them were it truly ancient. One doesn't read the first chapters of 2 Nephi and marvel at how well Lehi represents pre-exhilic Judism with a newly evolving understanding of this Jesus introduced to him as ...Messiah before the 2nd temple I guess?

Transport a perfectly translated copy of the Book of Mormon to the times and places where the events supposedly took place and you're likely to draw blanks when looking for responses from the people of the time and place in relation to what the Book of Mormon has to say theologically.

 

In the context of the 19th century, the theology of the Book of Mormon entered the debate without need for introduction. Alexander Campbell's famous quote being exhibit A I suppose.

You have moved the goal posts somewhat. Your original statement was that the theology of the Book of Mormon is 19th century. I pointed out a couple of places where Book of Mormon theology differs from 19th century theology, where no one even seemed to be debating the topic. Your subsequent points are based upon an assumption that the Nephites did not exist. I am only debating your original assertion.

Glenn

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11 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

You have moved the goal posts somewhat. Your original statement was that the theology of the Book of Mormon is 19th century. I pointed out a couple of places where Book of Mormon theology differs from 19th century theology, where no one even seemed to be debating the topic. Your subsequent points are based upon an assumption that the Nephites did not exist. I am only debating your original assertion.

Glenn

Hi Glenn,

Up thread I included in a response to cdowis the response to your request about baptism as a means of clarifying when a CFR was reasonable. 

That response is an example of how the Book of Mormon theology is representative of positions being debated at the time it came forward (the early 19th century) while not reflecting any kind of theological fingerprinting from, say, the seventh century BCE. the Christianity it engages reflects developments that occurred through the developments of the early church fathers such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas while strongly reflecting familiarity with the concerns of the Restorationist movement taking place contemporary to Joseph Smith. The examples you provided are engaging arguments only able to be engaged long after the Nephites supposedly were exterminated.

I feel like I keep having to clarify the actual argument which may seem like goalpost shifting. I feel more like it's trying to point the discussion in the same direction before the game can even begin.

ETA: Maybe the better analogy is it seems a bit like a backyard game of baseball where the apple tree just left of swings is what was described as 2nd base at the start, but then a player argues being called out because they ran to the swings and was tagged. Or so it seems to me.

Edited by Honorentheos
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3 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

I guess we have different definitions for "preponderance".

How about the dictionary definition?  You clearly have trouble with that.

3 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

.......................................................................

I've mentioned elsewhere the weights in the Book of Mormon align incredibly well with the English system.

CFR.  I'd like to see your case.

3 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

That the "preponderance" of evidence is for the 19th century authorship of the Book of Mormon is going to be the case as long as archeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, historians, theologians, and on and on among the scientific and cultural specialists continue to expand the boundaries of science ...............................................

.........................................................

I cited my sources.  Now let's see you make your scientific case without throwing in all the folderol you typically use to cloud the issues.

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5 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How about the dictionary definition?  You clearly have trouble with that.

CFR.  I'd like to see your case.

I cited my sources.  Now let's see you make your scientific case without throwing in all the folderol you typically use to cloud the issues.

This was worth reading just to see someone actually use the word "folderol"

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4 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

That the "preponderance" of evidence is for the 19th century authorship of the Book of Mormon is going to be the case as long as archeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, historians, theologians, and on and on among the scientific and cultural specialists continue to expand the boundaries of science out away from the 19th century mythology about the origins of the Native Americas still embeded in the Book of Mormon's central story line.

The history of a people and their religion are found primarily in their records.  Physical artifacts can only really be interpreted by the information we glean from those records.

So, let's exand the boundaries of scientific research to include the study of these important documents, in the form of codices from the time period of the Book of Mormon.  Can you share with us the expansion of those boundaries of science  thru increased study and understanding by those cultural specialists of what is contained in those records.

Thanks so very much if you would give us links to those... how many?  10,000... 1,0000.....100...50.....10.....5... less than 5 codexes?

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7 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

What do you think Nephite Christianity consists of? Recognizing, I think, that there is an unusual uniformity in the Book of Mormon in it's expression of Christian beliefs over a period covering 1000 years. Where do we find that level of suppression of theological evolution? Even the 150+ years of the LDS faith has seen tension and recalibration as social interaction between Fortress Utah saints in the time of Brigham Young have evolved and modern Mormonism reflects something that perhaps Joseph Smith wouldn't recognize. The Bible contains multitudes of Christian beliefs even after canonical selection weeded out the most deviant texts and beliefs and an active policing of heresy. How realistic do you think the Book of Mormon is when considered to be a pre-Christ expression of Christianity that was either isolated (if one accepts the hemispheric model of the Book of Mormon) or interacting with very foreign religious beliefs (if one accepts the Limited Geography Model)? I think that it is unlikely we should expect to find what we do find in the Book of Mormon were it truly ancient and reflecting a thousand years of beliefs held by an active culture such as the Book of Mormon describes. It makes much more sense as mythology describing an idealized form of Christianity meant to engage in the 19th century debate over original Christian teachings and the correct way to worship.

If, for argument's sake, we presume that The Book of Mormon contains a particular brand of Christianity that seems unusually consistent over a millenia relative to comparison texts (the bible), then couldn't this just as reasonably be assumed to result from it being The Book of Mormon? If all you really have are early writings of Nephi, of whom the abridger of the record is fond of, and then the rest of the writings compiled by said abridger and his son, should the consistency be at all surprising?

Edited by Judd
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9 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

What do you think Nephite Christianity consists of? Recognizing, I think, that there is an unusual uniformity in the Book of Mormon in it's expression of Christian beliefs over a period covering 1000 years. Where do we find that level of suppression of theological evolution? Even the 150+ years of the LDS faith has seen tension and recalibration as social interaction between Fortress Utah saints in the time of Brigham Young have evolved and modern Mormonism reflects something that perhaps Joseph Smith wouldn't recognize. The Bible contains multitudes of Christian beliefs even after canonical selection weeded out the most deviant texts and beliefs and an active policing of heresy. How realistic do you think the Book of Mormon is when considered to be a pre-Christ expression of Christianity that was either isolated (if one accepts the hemispheric model of the Book of Mormon) or interacting with very foreign religious beliefs (if one accepts the Limited Geography Model)? I think that it is unlikely we should expect to find what we do find in the Book of Mormon were it truly ancient and reflecting a thousand years of beliefs held by an active culture such as the Book of Mormon describes. It makes much more sense as mythology describing an idealized form of Christianity meant to engage in the 19th century debate over original Christian teachings and the correct way to worship.

Interesting points, and an interesting research topic. I'm sure there are others here who could give more thoughtful insights on Nephite Christianity. But I've always been annoyed by how quickly the Nephites and Lamanites deviate from their theological positions. You're obviously more tuned into the sequences but to me it seems we really don't know much about their common theology until Benjamin calls the Nephites and Mulekites together and lays it out. Then we get about 150 years of bickering and dissensions and wars with the Nephites turning evil and the Lamanites turning righteous and vice versa. Once we finally get pure Christianity in 34 AD we hear nothin more about it for 200 years as all the former divisions resurface.

The wild swings across theological positions and the rapid proliferation of rival churches and groups have always seemed improbable to me, at least for an isolated civilization without popular literacy and mass media. Of course the theological content of the BOM remained consistent because there was no delete button in those days, and if someone like Mormon or Moroni (or Joseph Smith) did happen to weed out any deviant parts, we'll never know it. For all we know those records Mormon chose to leave buried in the hill could have been full of Sheremite and Zoramite heresies.

What elements in the text would you say demonstrate the suppression of theological evolution? The 200 years after Christ seem to be the only stretch of time that everybody is united, and unfortunately we hear very little about how they pull it off.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How about the dictionary definition?  You clearly have trouble with that.

CFR.  I'd like to see your case.

I cited my sources.  Now let's see you make your scientific case without throwing in all the folderol you typically use to cloud the issues.

:)

A post that starts out like a teenager's Sacrament Meeting talk can't be all bad for sure. ("The dictionary defines charity, uh, preponderance as "the quality or fact of being greater in number, quantity, or importance." When refering to evidence, it tells us, "n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence." That reminds me of what the Bishop asked to me talk about after our week pretending to be pioneers...")

Fun stuff.

So, let's tackle the question of Alma 11 for kicks.

To start off and contextualize the discussion, recall that when it was first published the purpose of the Book of Mormon was, according to Nephi, how God would restore the lost plain and precious truths lost from the Bible (I Nep. 13) - "and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forthunto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb."

In other words, the purpose of the Book of Mormon was specifically identified as participating in the theological debate of the 19th century; to make clear the correct answers amid the confusion of the day. 

Later, after Joseph was no longer constrained to not pretend to any other gift but that of translating the Book of Mormon, he described it's purpose as follows -"“The fact is, that by the power of God I translated the Book of Mormon from hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was lost to the world, in which wonderful event I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with a new revelation, which (if they would receive the everlasting Gospel,) would open the eyes of [the world], and make ‘plain the old paths,’ wherein if a man walk in all the ordinances of God blameless, he shall inherit eternal life.” 

To Joseph it seems the purpose of the Book of Mormon remained through his lifetime to, "make 'plain the old paths,'" or essentially restore original Christianity amid the debate of the day.

Why bring this up as prelude to this other question? Because the purpose of the Book of Mormon has changed over time. Perhaps it turned out that original "scripture" kept from the hands of centuries of scribes and schisms could be trumped by claims that the original voice of God, heard by a prophet, was even better for the task. Obviously, the content of Mormonism as a religion has outpaced the plain and precious truths preserved in the Book of Mormon and become something else. One doesn't look to the Book of Mormon because it contains the purest form of Mormonism. Instead, it serves the purpose of supporting the role of Joseph Smith as prophet. And to many, this demands that it be an ancient text to ensure everyone understands that only by miraculous means could it even exist.

So, Alma 11 which tells us about Nephite measurements of gold, silver, and barley prefaces this little side bar with the caveat that the Nephites made up their measurement system. That is isn't like that used by the Jews in Jerusalem, nor by the Jews, but was instead constantly being evolved until the time of the reign of the Judges at which time the system described is set down being central to how a Judge is compensated for being a judge.

In other words, the Book of Mormon itself tells us it isn't right to expect it to tie to any ancient Middle or Near Eastern system but rather should be expected to be it's own thing. Not a bad call if one is not familiar with Jewish systems of weights and measurements. And irrelevant if the need is to simply add color to the story where the content does not serve or detract from the purpose of the Book of Mormon (again, to preserve ur-Christianity so the sectarian conflict in the 19th c. can be resolved).

It also means attempts to use it to convey connections to ancient old world systems prior to the Lehite parties supposed leaving of the old world are in conflict with the text itself.

No matter. Let's review your attempt.

So, you give us attempts to tie it to both Egyptian and Israelite systems of money and weight -

Quote

Coordination with Israelite Sheqel Famed archeologist William Dever points out first that the Egyptian decimal system is recalibrated in base-8 by the Israelites, but with the same ratios and designated by the same Egyptian Hieratic numerals, so that an Egyptian Hieratic “10” is marked on Israelite 8-sheqel weights:

Egyptian qite 1 2 5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Israelite šeqel 1 2 4 8 16 24 (32) 40 (48) (56)

...

What is very intriguing (some of you may have noticed this already) is that the all-too-brief presentation of the Nephite weights & measures in Alma 11 is virtually the same as this EgyptoIsraelite system:

Egyptian 1 2 5 10 15 20 30 40 50 60 70

Israelite 1 2 4 8 12 16 24 (32) 40 (48) (56)

Nephite 1 2 4 8 12 16 32 56

Nephite ⅛ ¼ ½ 1 1½ 2 4 7

Only the nomenclature is different, although not completely different. Moreover, the Nephite numbers could as easily be listed as identical with the Israelite, and even with “12” inserted following “8” to account for the special Nephite gold antion (= 3 shiblon), which makes the whole system work so much more efficiently. Indeed, one Judahite weight of 12 sheqels is known (marked with Hieratic “15”),18 but there were surely others. The weight/value of the Hebrew 8-sheqel unit of 91 gm (at 1/7th mina) precisely matches the Egyptian diban.

And then you go to lengths to create connections between various word sources and the terms used in the Book of Mormon. Not original in most cases, but the attempt seems to be important to those making the argument. Whether Egyptian, Akkadian, Hebrew or whathaveyou, so long as a term can be squinted at and look kinda like something ancient, mission accomplished I guess.

Again, though, the Book of Mormon itself tells us there isn't a parallel to the old world systems so anything you come up with would have to be coincidence according to the text itself.

As to the system itself, we dont' have to get too far from what Joseph Smith would have been familiar to see it's not particularly novel. In fact, it's essentially the same as the English Common system.

Following the manner of the text, which provides the base units first before adding in the anomalous antion after all of the other units have been provided which is given as three of a smaller unit, the units behave with the same ratios as English units. Using, say, the units of volume and the Cup as base, the align thus -

 1/8  Leah 1/8 pony
 1/4  Shiblum 1/4 jack
 1/2 Shiblon 1/2 gill
1 Senum 1 cup
2 Amnor 2 pint
4 Ezrom 4 quart
7 Onti 8 pottle

The Onti, which is the sum of a Senum, Amnor, and Ezrom which equals a total of seven Senum is the outlier in all of the attempts to align the system whether ancient or contemporary with the publication of the Book of Mormon. The sum of all the units before it, it's origin may be irrelevant as evidence for one system over the other but it's creative description as a sum doesn't create a mystery. 

So, in summary:

The need to demonstrate the Book of Mormon is ancient is not the internal intent of the Book itself, but a later use of the text by apologists to bolster Joseph Smith's claims to being a prophet once it stopped being useful as an authority on original Christianity. A fact that highlights the odd claims around the Book of Mormon that it somehow was able to remain isolated from the forces of social evolution prior to it's coming forward but as soon as it became a tangilble object rather than potentially imaginary one, it no longer enjoyed this privilege.

Trying to use the Nephite system of measure creates conflicts with the Book of Mormon text itself

The parallels drawn between words is a game of parallelmania where any resemblance to a word found in the ancient near east gets presented as a possible match. It's not demonstrable, nor falsefiable so essentially sport rather than supportive of any claim regarding claims the Book of Mormon is of ancient origin.

The system used in the Book of Mormon is not particularly different. It essentially uses the ratios that would have been familiar to Americans at the time of Joseph Smith. You don't have to go looking to ancient Egypt or Israel, ignoring the text itself, to find parallels. 

Edited by Honorentheos
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8 hours ago, cdowis said:

The history of a people and their religion are found primarily in their records.  Physical artifacts can only really be interpreted by the information we glean from those records.

So, let's exand the boundaries of scientific research to include the study of these important documents, in the form of codices from the time period of the Book of Mormon.  Can you share with us the expansion of those boundaries of science  thru increased study and understanding by those cultural specialists of what is contained in those records.

Thanks so very much if you would give us links to those... how many?  10,000... 1,0000.....100...50.....10.....5... less than 5 codexes?

cdowis,

Again, my position and claims are supported by illustrating parallels between the Book of Mormon and the religious debates of the 19th century. It's YOUR argument that needs to demonstrate the ancient context fits the Book of Mormon. Demanding that I define as comprehensive a set as possible to prove the negative of your argument isn't necessary. I can point to the sum total of your examples to accomplish the same thing. You've presented none, the set is empty.

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5 hours ago, Judd said:

If, for argument's sake, we presume that The Book of Mormon contains a particular brand of Christianity that seems unusually consistent over a millenia relative to comparison texts (the bible), then couldn't this just as reasonably be assumed to result from it being The Book of Mormon? If all you really have are early writings of Nephi, of whom the abridger of the record is fond of, and then the rest of the writings compiled by said abridger and his son, should the consistency be at all surprising?

Hi Judd,

Certainly it's a possible argument to say that Mormon, as the abridger of the text, imposes his singular view of a particular Christian faith onto the text. That the Nephite chronicle (meaning writings of Nephi and his brother that give us the first books of the Book of Mormon) could simply be the source of Mormon's theology.

The challenge is that it's still presenting a system of Christianity that is very comfortable in the debates of the 19th century when it was published.

From another angle to continue to examine this issue, let's take our time today. Suppose the Book of Mormon were to be revealed for the first time in 2016. What do you see in the Book of Mormon that would make it meaningful in the theological discussion of our time? Supposing the LDS church had arisen without it, and it came forward today by other hands, other means. Perhaps secular means such as the Nag Hammadi finds. Supposing that Mormon theology alone is what was "restored" independent of the Book of Mormon, so the LDS Church had no beliefs about Christ visiting the Americas or of ancient Israelite Christians coming to the New World, but based on theology alone, what would be the FAIR Conference presentations on the Book of Mormon that showed the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon in the 21st century were supportive of one another? Let's use the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon, too. Just to set the baseline.

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15 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

I've mentioned elsewhere the weights in the Book of Mormon align incredibly well with the English system.

That same assertion has been addressed in this forum, and elsewhere, over a decade ago....but from a faith-promoting perspective  

15 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

That the "preponderance" of evidence is for the 19th century authorship of the Book of Mormon is going to be the case as long as archeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, historians, theologians, and on and on among the scientific and cultural specialists continue to expand the boundaries of science out away from the 19th century mythology about the origins of the Native Americas still embeded in the Book of Mormon's central story line.

I respectfully disagree. A growing body of archaeological, anthropological, genetic, historical, and theological evidence provides much more evidence in favor of ancient Nephites than you...and others...might initially (?or ever?) prefer to accept/acknowledge.

Edited by notHagoth7
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15 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

...You can bounce a rubber ball against a tank as much as you want, and claim the sheer volume of blows counts for something I guess. It doesn't change the reality of how insignificant all those blows by a rubber ball against a tank really are, though.

Or...

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

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18 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

What do you think Nephite Christianity consists of? Recognizing, I think, that there is an unusual uniformity in the Book of Mormon in it's expression of Christian beliefs over a period covering 1000 years. Where do we find that level of suppression of theological evolution? Even the 150+ years of the LDS faith has seen tension and recalibration as social interaction between Fortress Utah saints in the time of Brigham Young have evolved and modern Mormonism reflects something that perhaps Joseph Smith wouldn't recognize. The Bible contains multitudes of Christian beliefs even after canonical selection weeded out the most deviant texts and beliefs and an active policing of heresy. How realistic do you think the Book of Mormon is when considered to be a pre-Christ expression of Christianity that was either isolated (if one accepts the hemispheric model of the Book of Mormon) or interacting with very foreign religious beliefs (if one accepts the Limited Geography Model)? I think that it is unlikely we should expect to find what we do find in the Book of Mormon were it truly ancient and reflecting a thousand years of beliefs held by an active culture such as the Book of Mormon describes. It makes much more sense as mythology describing an idealized form of Christianity meant to engage in the 19th century debate over original Christian teachings and the correct way to worship.

It wouldn't be realistic to have that kind of uniformity over 1000 years. However, to be fair, the book says it was edited and compiled largely by a single author, which could account for the theological and doctrinal uniformity.

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3 hours ago, notHagoth7 said:

That same assertion has been addressed in this forum, and elsewhere, over a decade ago....but from a faith-promoting perspective  

Its a creative document, but seems to me more like a perfect example of starting with your premise, and trying to find evidence to support it.  It would never hold scrutiny in a peer reviewed scientific arena.  

There are also unintended consequences of this debate where Mormons have imposed a BoM historical origins narrative onto the Polynesian people through the Hagoth story, and Native Americans through the Nephi and Lehi stories.  For those people, I think the stakes in this kind of a debate are very high, because of how Mormonism has attempted to tell a history that may be completely at odds with the actual histories of these people.  

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Its a creative document, but seems to me more like a perfect example of starting with your premise, and trying to find evidence to support it.  It would never hold scrutiny in a peer reviewed scientific arena.  

There are also unintended consequences of this debate where Mormons have imposed a BoM historical origins narrative onto the Polynesian people through the Hagoth story, and Native Americans through the Nephi and Lehi stories.  For those people, I think the stakes in this kind of a debate are very high, because of how Mormonism has attempted to tell a history that may be completely at odds with the actual histories of these people.  

A good reminder that the Book of Mormon imposes a 19th century belief about existing non-European cultures that is, in retrospect, quite unfortunate. One doesn't need to focus on the use of words like "white" or "pure" to see that the cultural disregard for Native Americans and other cultures in the 19th century is central to the Book of Mormon context.

Edited by Honorentheos
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On 8/26/2016 at 3:24 AM, Honorentheos said:

.....................................................................

Again, though, the Book of Mormon itself tells us there isn't a parallel to the old world systems so anything you come up with would have to be coincidence according to the text itself.

False.  The text tells us no such thing.  Alma 11:4 (which I quoted for you in my lecture) says "they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges," which would be true of any weights & measures system.  They all change through time.  Whether and to what extent they resemble any prior systems is a matter to be empirically determined.  Do the math, Honorentheos.

Quote

As to the system itself, we dont' have to get too far from what Joseph Smith would have been familiar to see it's not particularly novel. In fact, it's essentially the same as the English Common system.

Following the manner of the text, which provides the base units first before adding in the anomalous antion after all of the other units have been provided which is given as three of a smaller unit, the units behave with the same ratios as English units. Using, say, the units of volume and the Cup as base, the align thus -

 1/8  Leah 1/8 pony
 1/4  Shiblum 1/4 jack
 1/2 Shiblon 1/2 gill
1 Senum 1 cup
2 Amnor 2 pint
4 Ezrom 4 quart
7 Onti 8 pottle

The Onti, which is the sum of a Senum, Amnor, and Ezrom which equals a total of seven Senum is the outlier in all of the attempts to align the system whether ancient or contemporary with the publication of the Book of Mormon. The sum of all the units before it, it's origin may be irrelevant as evidence for one system over the other but it's creative description as a sum doesn't create a mystery. 

.............................................................

The Book of Mormon is not particularly different. It essentially uses the ratios that would have been familiar to Americans at the time of Joseph Smith. You don't have to go looking to ancient Egypt or Israel, ignoring the text itself, to find parallels. 

Again, false.  Aside from not being about specific measures of silver or gold in exchange for grain measures, the English system you apply is binary rather than base-8, and does not even include the antion, nor does it have the same ratio for the onti/limnah as for the pottle -- which you place opposite.  In applying Occam's Razor one would have to reject your facile comparison as haphazard and off-the-cuff.  It just doesn't work.

pony

 

jack

 

gill

 

cup

 

pint

 

quart

 

pottle

 

gallon

 

1 pony =

 

2

1

12

14

18

116

132

1 jack =

 

4

2

1

12

14

18

116

1 gill =

 

8

4

2

1

12

14

18

1 cup =

 

16

8

4

2

1

12

14

1 pint =

 

32

16

8

4

2

1

12

1 quart =

 

64

32

16

8

4

2

1

1 pottle =

 

128

64

32

16

8

4

2

1 gallon =

 

256

128

64

32

16

8

4

 

 

silver/gold

measure

cups

English liquid volume

6-onti bribe

42

16

gallon (4 qts, or 8 pts)

onti/limnah

7

8

pottle (2 qts, or ½ gal)

ezrum/shum

4

4

quart (2 pts, or ¼ gal)

amnor/sean

2

2

pint (1/8 gal)

antion

1 1/2

 

 

 

 

senum/senine

1

1

cup (base; 2 gills, or 1/16 gal)

shiblon

1/2

1/2

gill (1/2 cup, or 1/32 gal)

shilum

1/4

1/4

jack (14 cup, or 1/64 gal)

leah

1/8

1/8

pony (1/8 cup, or 1 fluid oz)

The only interesting thing one might say here of the English system is related to  the nursery rhyme, Jack & Gill, which records the attempt by King Charles I to reform the taxes on liquid measures. He was blocked by Parliament, so subsequently ordered that the volume of a Jack (1/2 pint) be reduced, but the tax remained the same. This meant that he still received more tax, despite Parliament's veto. Hence "Jack fell down and broke his crown" (many pint glasses in the UK still have a line marking the 1/2 pint level with a crown above it) "and Jill came tumbling after". The reference to "Jill" (actually a "gill", or 1/4 pint) is said to reflect that the gill dropped (or would have dropped) in volume as a consequence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_and_Jill_(nursery_rhyme)

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Alma 11:4 is pretty clear.

And the names are given by the Nephites, for they did not reckon after the manner of the Jews who were at Jerusalem; neither did they measure after the manner of the Jews; but they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges, they having been established by king Mosiah.

The Nephites gave the measures their names. They aren't those of the Jews nor those used in Jerusalem. It's clearly a disclaimer to let the reader know that they should not expect them to align. My comments aren't false. I'm sorry you dislike what the Book of Mormon has to say about this.

As to the units, the Book of Mormon describes them the same way the English Common system is described. Two pints make a quart just like two shiblon make a senum. The Onti that you are hung up on, being the sum of the smaller units, doesn't align with your attempts at finding an ancient analog. It's odd regardless of the source. One wonders if Joseph just used the phrase of it being the sum of the others because it sounded nice.

The English Common system used similar proportions for dry measures were our current bushel come from. And at one time, a bucket had a set volume under that system.

It's really as easy as kindergarten/1st grade 4 quarts equal a gallon and to make it something more is over reaching to try and make a case the Book of Mormon is ancient rather than a product of the 19th century. Again, I'm sorry you don't find the simplest answers that address the same information your complicated attempts take on to be satisfying.

Edited by Honorentheos
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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

False.  The text tells us no such thing.  Alma 11:4 (which I quoted for you in my lecture) says "they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges," which would be true of any weights & measures system.  They all change through time.  Whether and to what extent they resemble any prior systems is a matter to be empirically determined.  Do the math, Honorentheos.rhyme)

It doesn't make sense to me that every generation would "alter their reckoning and their measure" based on their "minds and the circumstances of the people."  What does it even mean?  

Do we know of any culture where this was exhibited, generation after generation?

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On 08/25/2016 at 5:45 PM, Honorentheos said:

Hi Glenn,

Up thread I included in a response to cdowis the response to your request about baptism as a means of clarifying when a CFR was reasonable. 

That response is an example of how the Book of Mormon theology is representative of positions being debated at the time it came forward (the early 19th century) while not reflecting any kind of theological fingerprinting from, say, the seventh century BCE. the Christianity it engages reflects developments that occurred through the developments of the early church fathers such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas while strongly reflecting familiarity with the concerns of the Restorationist movement taking place contemporary to Joseph Smith. The examples you provided are engaging arguments only able to be engaged long after the Nephites supposedly were exterminated.

I feel like I keep having to clarify the actual argument which may seem like goalpost shifting. I feel more like it's trying to point the discussion in the same direction before the game can even begin.

ETA: Maybe the better analogy is it seems a bit like a backyard game of baseball where the apple tree just left of swings is what was described as 2nd base at the start, but then a player argues being called out because they ran to the swings and was tagged. Or so it seems to me.

 

I think that I have already acknowledged that "original sin" and infant baptism were items of Christian debate in the 19th century religious environment in which Joseph Smith was raised and in which he participated. "Free will" versus predestination also was being debated. So much of what was being debated originated much earlier, in the Protestant Reformation and subsequent schisms. Infant baptism has been debated since as early as 200 A.D. As you noted, Augustine

But in an earlier post you said "The theological positions in the Book of Mormon present a version of Christianity that claims to have been revealed to prophets to address 19th century theological debates. Speaking of original sin, or the concepts behind it, is anachronistic prior to St. Paul and it's further development as an idea among the early Christian Fathers. It's not that the Book of Mormon provides a unique answer to the question, it's that the Book of Mormon answers a question that didn't exist at the time it is claimed to be representing, but did exist at the time it was composed."

As I noted earlier, you are basing your points on the assumption that there were no Nephites. All of those arguments fail if there were Nephites. All of those points fail if God foresaw what was going to happen. The Book of Mormon answers questions that may not have been posed in Lehi's day. That doesn't matter. What matters is whether the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God. There is no theological anachronisms in the Book of Mormon is God is the Man behind the scenes in its production.

Your present argument is circular. There were no Nephites. The Book of Mormon quotes Nephite prophets concerning theological questions that would not be posed in Gentile Christianity for hundreds of years. Therefore there were no Nephites.

Glenn

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11 minutes ago, Gervin said:

It doesn't make sense to me that every generation would "alter their reckoning and their measure" based on their "minds and the circumstances of the people."  What does it even mean?  

Do we know of any culture where this was exhibited, generation after generation?

Have you looked at the history of the monetary system of the United States?

Glenn

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9 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

Have you looked at the history of the monetary system of the United States?

Glenn

Well, let's see ..., the Continental Congress adopted the dollar as the accepted unit of national currency in 1785, about 230 years ago, or , what ... 6 or 7 generations ago.

How's that holding up?

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12 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Its a creative document, but seems to me more like a perfect example of starting with your premise, and trying to find evidence to support it.  

Or...more like starting with a hypothesis, and examining the available evidence to gauge/document the increasing viability of the hypothesis. An approach that some would call the very basis of scientific inquiry. But I suppose we should just pshaw such approaches, wave everyone off, and say "There's nothing to see here folks..." ?? Is that your main assertion? If so, perhaps I can hold the corner of the rug up for you as you apparently wish to sweep the growing evidence under *something*....the gut-check question is, why is that your default preference?

It would never hold scrutiny in a peer reviewed scientific arena.  

? A sufficient number of peers have examined / scrutinized it to my satisfaction, and I'm also satisfied w/their feedback. More importantly, I'm even more satisfied with Heaven's opinion on the matter - to whom I would recommend that others likewise appeal.

Beyond an audience such as that, I have nominal concern about what any self-processed, lab-coat-wearing audience might happen to conclude. Whether they happen to agree or not *is entirely on them, not on me.*

I've done my part. And continue to do more.

There are also unintended consequences of this debate where Mormons have imposed a BoM historical origins narrative onto the Polynesian people through the Hagoth story, and Native Americans through the Nephi and Lehi stories....

You are certainly free to take that portion of your concern to those who claim expertise in such regions/assertions. Meanwhile, I'm focused on other areas/matters. 

 

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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

But in an earlier post you said "The theological positions in the Book of Mormon present a version of Christianity that claims to have been revealed to prophets to address 19th century theological debates. Speaking of original sin, or the concepts behind it, is anachronistic prior to St. Paul and it's further development as an idea among the early Christian Fathers. It's not that the Book of Mormon provides a unique answer to the question, it's that the Book of Mormon answers a question that didn't exist at the time it is claimed to be representing, but did exist at the time it was composed."

This. Other than the Liahona there is nothing anachronistic in the Book of Mormon. There were horses, silk, chariots, iron swords, infant baptisms, domesticated elephants etc. during the proper time periods. They just don't seem to be found in the Great Lakes region or Mesoamerica. 

A shift in paradigms is required.

@Honorentheos Let's say the Book of Mormon is somehow an Old World text describing the migrations of lost tribes to paradise that was expanded after 1492 to include the New World as part of the promised land(s). Are the theological positions anachronistic for an apocryphal text compiled in 421 AD?

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