Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lies, Darn Lies and Shawn McCraney

Little things make life worthwhile. I noticed this week that Heart of the Matter did not post last weeks show, despite folks I know who called the station and were told it would be out in 48 hours or less. Before tonight's show I sort of laughed and joked to myself that it was because of what a jerk Shawn was towards me and other LDS callers last week.

And then I tuned in for his monologue tonight. He started by defending what a jerk he had been, noting the folks he was rude to deserved it.

Then he launched on me. I literally started laughing, and then arguing, and then contemplating legal action. I will keep my options open on that. But here is something without dispute:

Shawn McCraney is a liar.

Shawn accused me of lying to his call screener last week. Not true. I told her exactly who I was. She did not ask me if I had ever called before. But that is a "he said, she said" thing, and unless we locate her notes, it would be impossible to prove.

But he then said I called evangelical Christians "God's broken toys." He said look it up, I had said it, or something to that effect. I never have used that phrase at any time in my life, let alone in an argument with Evangelicals.

Now, with all due respect to Shawn's feeble, childish and one-sided attack, he then out did his childish fit-of-an-attack with a transparently self-aggrandizing mini-sermon wherein he said I was from Fruit Heights, UT. Of course, I am not. I don't live in that county. In fact, had he actually spoken with his call screener and looked at her notes, he would have seen my phone number and a note that I live in South Jordan, UT.

Like it said on his TV monitor and the television screen during the call.

"What a maroon."

He also repeated his erroneous statement that Israel was not allowed under the Law to own Israelite slaves. His says it with such conviction. Good liars are like that.
2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master give him a wife, and she bear him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
5 But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;
6 then his master shall bring him unto G-d, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do.
8 If she please not her master, who hath espoused her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her unto a foreign people he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
9 And if he espouse her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. 10 If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her conjugal rights, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out for nothing, without money. (Jewish Bible, Exodus 21:2-11)

For lots of reading on the subject, see H. L. Elleson, “The Hebrew Slave: A Study in Early Israelite Society,” EvQ 45 (1973): 30-35; N. P. Lemche, “The Manumission of Slaves – The Fallow Year – The Sabbatical Year – The Jobel Year,” VT 26 (1976): 38-59, and “The ‘Hebrew Slave,’ Comments on the Slave Law – Ex. 21:2-11,” VT 25 (1975): 129-44. These came from the entry for Ex 21:2 at the NetBible.org website. An Evangelical source. Not LDS. So they are not trying to make Shawn look bad. He does that on his own.

I suppose it is true I am boring to Shawn, since he can't effectively argue with me. Also, I do have a few videos out there.

Did anyone else notice that after he got done running me down, he tried to make it sound like he was going to address the issue of Elijah Abel's ordination being revoked by Joseph Smith, as asserted by Harold B. Lee. I may have missed the General Conference session where LDS apostles were decreed infallible in matters of historic LDS trivia. Still, he avoided actually providing any support of his assertion, since he asserts that Joseph Smith was a racist. Read his statements around his presidential campaign. Read the editorials. Read his statement about blacks and all people worshiping together in the temple.

Elijah Abel's grave stone is here, and was dedicated by an LDS apostle. And given we have the ordination statements for Elder Abel, we know it is correct.

Making Shawn not just mistaken, but ignorant.

I think Shawn is a lying, deceptive and self-aggrandizing peacock. But he does provide good material.

279 comments:

1 – 200 of 279   Newer›   Newest»
Walker said...

I was wondering why he hadn't posted the video. I kept checking all week.

I'm pretty blown away that he actually named you.

bunker said...

I think shawn was so upset that he has been showing up as anon in some recent posts. Seems as though there is an anon that keeps mentioning your "obsession" with shawn and would fit his profile. Thanks for your work bob.

sweetpay said...

Ha,ha, very funny Bunker because for the past few weeks when reading the posts from "anonymous" all I could think about is how "anon" is most likely that coward Sean.

Chad said...

Hey Bob,

I didn't get to watch Shawn's little show because of work. However I'm still waiting for his reply to my e-mails and questions for him!

I'm making a picture of the three stooges but I'm pasting some different faces to the actual ones.

The three I'm pasting on are Ed Decker, Dick Baer and Shawn! Kind of funny all three were excommunicated for adultery!

Take care Bob

P.S. Do you have a e-mail address? If so please leave it on my blog. Take care Bob

Anonymous said...

hey guys, don't be mad that he knows the weaknesses to your religion. i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that, but would you really want to admit it?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous,
That is actually funny. Shawn knows the weaknesses of my religion, but he is the one afraid to engage folks like me or Walker?

Maybe you could connect the logical dots there for me. It would be a valid concern if I had ever been the kind to yell or be verbally abusive in conversations with the critics of my faith. But I have never done so. Listen to the calls into Shawn. Ever heard me address him in a rude manner? How about raise my voice? For that matter, have I ever even waffled on answering questions? No, never.

Maybe I am boring, but did you notice Shawn's reaction to me? Anything but boring. So from an entertainment value standpoint, I don't think he can keep me from calling in because I am dull content.

The truth is this: The person who avoids having their opinions responded to, especially when the opinions are actually assaults on another faith, then you can bet, with 100% confidence, that person lacks confidence in being able to defend his position.

Let's look at the record. Shawn shut down two bulletin boards his website previously administered because he felt too much apologetic info was being put forward, and, paraphrasing Shawn, was not helping the cause of anti-Mormonism.

Next Shawn canceled his "Pastor in the Pub" meetings after the show because I was showing up. Understand I was kind, polite and made friends from among the attendees. Shawn did not like the idea that I had 2-4 hours to respond, in conversation not a monologue, to the issues on the show or other questions. I was told by people very close to the program that was the reason, and they claimed to have been told it by Shawn himself.

Then we have the banning of those pesky Mormon apologists. In the wake of the intellectual beating he took on the Van Hale radio program, he opted to never again interact with knowledgeable Mormons again. I have the posts he put up after the Van Hale program where he admitted he got his clock clean, and would never do it again.

Which is why, for those of you who don't connect dots well, he is afraid of interacting with apologists. Absent his notes in front of him from UTLM, Shawn is pretty much incapable of reasoning through the doctrines of the LDS Church, accurately reciting its history, or dealing with the text of the Bible.

Have you noticed how often I offer to meet with folks to go through their issues? Do you think that is the result of a lurking fear of being found false, or represents a conviction of the truth?

I earnestly "contend for the faith". To contend means to interact, and comes from a Greek word implying hand to hand combat.

Hard to do that with your critics banned from engaging you.

Peace and out.
Bob

bunker said...

Bob can't you tell from where anon is posting by looking at your live traffic feed?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Bunker,
I don't know how to get historical info about when people come to my blog. The problem is that Shawn lives at 20161 McKinley Ln, Huntington Beach, CA 92646 according to his Not For Profit Organization information. Nice house. It may be his parent's home. Anyway, he flies in on Saturday or Sunday to Salt Lake, and I think he flies out on Wednesday or Thursday back to distortion central.

So if you can tell me how to retrieve the info, we will take a look to see who anonymous might be, and pair up the blogs with the locations. If you see Huntington Beach, which I have before, then consider it a pretty high probability of being Mr. Open Forum. :-)

Bob

Walker said...

"i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that, but would you really want to admit it?"

According to others, deep down I'm an atheist. I love all these insightful, soul-piercing posts...

David said...

I know the anons from the comment stream of the last blog on McCraney and none of them are Shawn McCraney. Sorry! I know you all were hoping someone like him would actually pay attention to your pitiful little blog.

Anonymous said...

Bob the Stalker at it again ...

Chad the anti stalker said...

Yeah, Bob, it was us. Hahaha, that's funny. Nice thought though. You were probably pretty excited to think Shawn would comment on your blog huh?

Walker said...

"I know you all were hoping someone like him would actually pay attention to your pitiful little blog."

Someone like him? Does he have a VIP status with you or something?

Apparently, only lowly mortals like David pay attention to this so-called "pitiful blog."

Walker said...

"Bob the Stalker at it again ..."

Yet another profound post by Anonymous.

sweetpay said...

"i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that, but would you really want to admit it?"

Sorry to be so rude but I'm amazed at the level of idiot that people can obtain. C'mon Anon #1, is that really the best you can come up with. The truth is you just summed up in a few words what level all anti's have to stoop to once they realize they no longer have any ground, rather spiritual truth to stand upon.

Bob, I really don't know how you come up with the energy to fight these guys, honestly, it's one thing to have an open, honest and intelligent debate with someone who may disagree with the teachings of Mormonism and completely another to hit your head against a brick wall trying to open the minds and hearts of these misled and very, very "close-minded" so called Christians.

Chad said...

David said, "I know you all were hoping someone like him would actually pay attention to your pitiful little blog."

Actually David someone like him did pay attention to Bob's blog....YOU! Silly goof ball!

Meanwhile I listened to a podcast..Van Hale vs Shawn McCraney it was comica.


Bob You Rock!

Jesse said...

"Chad the anti stalker"

Hahahaha, good one Chad! It's sad that these people think that they have spiritual truth. They are so misguided.

Zack said...

"I know you all were hoping someone like him would actually pay attention to your pitiful little blog."

Yeah, I know, it just proves Bob's obsession with Shawn. And Walker, if you want to know why we read Bob's blog - because it's entertaining. It's entertaining for us to read your comments and see you verbally pat each other on the back and congratulate each other on having the "truth" that no one else has. It's laughable. The Mormon religion is so obviously wrong. If you think that your arguments supporting it are convincing any of us, or any other non-mormon, that your religion is true, you very deluded.

JD said...

Bob, you are so full of crap! I just watched Shawn's shows from the past two weeks and he totally had you on the Elijah Abel discussion. Your blog posts are misleading. You're just angry that he bested you. Get over it! Leave Shawn alone and go somewhere else with your doublespeak, stalker!

It cracks me up that someone called you a stalker. I should have thought of that. It's the truth!

Anonymous said...

Shawn called you a deceptive man. He is right.

Anonymous said...

So you're the "Santa's broken toys" guy? That makes sense. You are pathetic Bob.

Anonymous said...

Shawn is so right. You are such a liar.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous said...

So you're the "Santa's broken toys" guy? That makes sense. You are pathetic Bob.

Sorry Anonymous, I am not the Santa's broken toys"-guy. This is one of Shawn's lies. He totally made it up. As in TOTALLY MADE IT UP. I've never even used the phrase at any time in my life. Thus I am seriously considering suing Shawn for defamation of character, and your comments reinforce the point. I guess to that degree I should thank you. I will discuss it with my lawyer in the morning.

It is one thing to disagree with each other about doctrine, or even interpret events in history with vastly different motivations applied to the characters involved. But Shawn made that story up. It is false. He is a liar. The only person more pathetic are those koolaid drinkers who worship at the throne of McCraney. And the cowards who hide behind anonymity to attack others.

Anonymous said...

Before you contact your lawyer, let me remind you of something. Early in December of 2006: you met with Shawn (and his assistant and another young man who can verify that it was you) for a late night dinner after a talk Shawn gave at a church in Salt Lake. He said, in his show when he talked about it, that you were admittedly proud. He said that you remarked, while you were waiting for your dinner to arrive, "You know when I looked around at the people there at this meeting tonight, they reminded me of Santa's broken toys." And Shawn said, "We are all broken toys, Brother." And you said, "Yeah, I know we are all broken toys and we all have problems but these people were like the fall out of society there listening to you." Does this dinner with Shawn ring a bell? Do you remember this? Pretty despicable, Bob. I would hold off on that call to your lawyer.

If you don't believe me or remember, you can watch it here:

http://www.hotm.tv/shows/20061226.htm

Chad the anti stalker said...

"The only person more pathetic are those koolaid drinkers who worship at the throne of McCraney. And the cowards who hide behind anonymity to attack others."

Ooh, getting a little hot under the collar are we?

Walker said...

"And Walker, if you want to know why we read Bob's blog - because it's entertaining."

That usually is the case with blogs.

You still read it.

"It's entertaining for us to read your comments and see you verbally pat each other on the back"

'Hahahaha, good one Chad!'

"The Mormon religion is so obviously wrong."

Zack has spoken.

"If you think that your arguments supporting it are convincing any of us, or any other non-mormon, that your religion is true, you very deluded."

If they were convincing to you, I don't think you would remain non-Mormon. That kind of goes without saying. So, in turn, if you think your "arguments" (since you don't really provide anything beyond "Mormonism is laughable") are convincing any of us, or any other Mormon, that you are right, you are very deluded.

Walker said...

"i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that"

"I know you all were hoping someone like him would actually pay attention to your pitiful little blog."

"Bob the Stalker at it again ..."

"It's sad that these people think that they have spiritual truth. They are so misguided."

"you very deluded."

"Bob, you are so full of crap!"

"Shawn called you a deceptive man. He is right."

"You are pathetic Bob."

"You are such a liar."

Not a single post from our critics that addresses the information presented by Bob. Instead, they just fling insults without any attempt to back up their statements.

Well done, guys. Your credibility has reached an all time low.

David said...

Good catch anonymous! I would like to see Bob respond to this:

"Before you contact your lawyer, let me remind you of something. Early in December of 2006: you met with Shawn (and his assistant and another young man who can verify that it was you) for a late night dinner after a talk Shawn gave at a church in Salt Lake. He said, in his show when he talked about it, that you were admittedly proud. He said that you remarked, while you were waiting for your dinner to arrive, "You know when I looked around at the people there at this meeting tonight, they reminded me of Santa's broken toys." And Shawn said, "We are all broken toys, Brother." And you said, "Yeah, I know we are all broken toys and we all have problems but these people were like the fall out of society there listening to you." Does this dinner with Shawn ring a bell? Do you remember this? Pretty despicable, Bob. I would hold off on that call to your lawyer.

If you don't believe me or remember, you can watch it here:

http://www.hotm.tv/shows/20061226.htm"

Chris said...

"So if you can tell me how to retrieve the info, we will take a look to see who anonymous might be, and pair up the blogs with the locations."

The problem is that you won't be able to tell who is who unless you can get an IP address for each post. Even then, it won't work because someone could be using a laptop while traveling to different locations, so it's really hard to pinpoint someone.

JediMormon said...

"...i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that, but would you really want to admit it?"
This isn't the first time I've been told that "deep down inside" I know i'm following a false religion. Besides their statement to that effect being totally false, I think the person making that kind of assumption is delusional. When you have a witness from the Holy Ghost as to the truth of something, that's as "deep down" as it gets. So, "deep down", I know that what i'm doing is what the Lord wants me to do, and no delusional anti-Mormon is going to convince me otherwise.

Nathan said...

"Maybe you could connect the logical dots there for me. It would be a valid concern if I had ever been the kind to yell or be verbally abusive in conversations with the critics of my faith."

And then you said:

"But Shawn made that story up. It is false. He is a liar. The only person more pathetic are those koolaid drinkers who worship at the throne of McCraney. And the cowards who hide behind anonymity to attack others."

Is that not abusive? Granted, the posters recently have been aggressive in name calling, this is true. But it seems like it happens everywhere on the blog, on both sides.


"For that matter, have I ever even waffled on answering questions? No, never ... The truth is this: The person who avoids having their opinions responded to, especially when the opinions are actually assaults on another faith, then you can bet, with 100% confidence, that person lacks confidence in being able to defend his position."

Bob, in a comment stream before someone asked you the question, "What did you mean about the constant contradictions in the Bible?" And then there was another one, "How come the church doesn't have an official position on the geography of the Book of Mormon?" And you never answered them. Did you waffle on answering these questions? Do you lack confidence in being able to answer these questions?

M said...

""i mean, your religion is false, and i think deep down inside you all really know that, but would you really want to admit it?"

According to others, deep down I'm an atheist. I love all these insightful, soul-piercing posts..."


Knowing deep down that your religion is false won't necessarily make you an atheist, Walker. And this is the problem with the church and what it teaches. When a person comes to believe that it is wrong, they think that there is nothing to believe because church teaches that it is the only true church. If you were to come to the decision that the Christ they teach you is not the real Christ and then come to know the real Christ yourself, you would leave Mormonism and not be an atheist. Of course, I don't think that would ever happen. You seem to be a true blue Mormon through and through.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Well Anonymous,
You have cited a specific show for the end of year 2006 wherein Shawn said I said this about some folks who were attending his meeting at the church on North Temple. The relevant section starts about 16 minutes into the show.

First of all, I probably am "admittedly proud" of some good things and bad things. But it is a lie that I am "admittedly proud" of thinking myself better than other people.

Second, there were four of us at that meeting. If you are not Shawn, then you must be Kevin. Or you were not there, and are therefore repeating something Shawn is recalling from the vantage point of 3 weeks later. Doesn't really matter. I certainly did not say what Shawn says I said. I wrote notes of the meeting, and I don't recall the comment. In fact, I find the idea of such a comment before dinner hard to swallow. I in fact told Shawn, and I have said this publicly many times, I don't really have a problem with inactive LDS or other people lacking a relationship with God becoming active in another faith, as I believe they are being prepared for the full relationship which I believe is what comes through the Spirit when one receives the full truth.

Moreover, Nathan was sitting across from me at the table at Denny's, and he is a man who had experienced a divorce, and due to his sense of cultural alienation at the LDS Church, had drifted into the non-LDS religious culture he was attending. So the idea I would insult Nathan, someone I have become friends with and still have a very positive relationship, when I meet him for the first time is beyond belief. People should ask him. And if you are not Kevin Kennington, then ask Kevin if I said it. I simply would never, ever, call sincere people a bunch of losers. There were some very sincere, decent folks there who were PRO-LDS besides myself. I have their names, as they identified themselves as they stood. There were folks who are not LDS, but just wanted to learn about them. And there were a couple of rabid anti-LDS types in the audience who accused Shawn of being too timid in his attacks on the LDS faith.

So I don't really care that Shawn reports three weeks later by memory on a meeting which covered many topics. There was never a profound "Shawn testimony" moment in the meeting. Didn't happen. I wrote a quote Shawn said while ordering his food ("Make it well done. Burn everything including the eggs."), and if there had been a moment where I was attacking humanity with such arrogance, given Shawn's description of me, I probably would have recorded it.

Again, Shawn lied. It didn't happen. I stand by my notes made within 48 hours of the meeting compared to Shawn looking for a cheap shot against me on his show. I did not see this episode, which explains why I never responded to it. Sad, sad stuff.

And frankly, your judgment of me is completely unChristian. You were not there, have no idea what you are talking about, and are taking the word of a documented liar over someone you don't know.

Peace.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Hey,
Shawn's shows are on the web again. First notice his comment. Listen carefully to how he introduces that I called in the previous week:

He says "our screener wrote that Bob was a first time caller, but when I heard Bob's voice, I knew that he was not a first time caller, but was an LDS man who truly considers himself an LDS apologist...He has called the program numerous times, but is so boring, and so focused on nit-picky stuff, that these little variables get in the way of just talking about the truth. It's just this whole spin machine. This Bob in my opinion is mean and he's very deceptive. So mean that he calls the people who kind of follow our ministry "Santa's broken toys". That's a quote from his mouth. That's his arrogance toward the human race. The people who can't and don't follow Mormonism are Santa's broken toys. And you know, to that I say [while raising his hand and pointing a finger to himself],I'm chief, I'm the chief puppet that has his head lopped off in Santa's workshop and needs it to be mended together by Jesus. I'll admit that, and I praise God that he put me that way. The person who critiques people can go out into Santa's perfect house, but the broken toys are the ones' Jesus comes for, Bob, and when you said that that's what they are, very mean, but he's also quite deceptive because he told an operator last week that he was a first time caller."

Obviously, Shawn never checked with the call screener, since he noted I am from "Fruit Heights, Utah" in his prepared notes he is reading for the above monologue. Look at the TV screen during my call. It says "Bob, South Jordan, UT". Which is what I told her. I also gave her my full name and my home phone number. Shawn proves he did not verify anything about my call, which I stated on air that I did not lie to get on.

His original comments from 2006 include a statement that there was a family that flagged him down as he was leaving. I was there for that. He never commented "santas broken toys" as we walked out of the restaurant. It is pure fantasy. I would definitely remember that if there was some profound moment like he claims.

Look, I am the first to say that there are some bona fide nut jobs who follow Shawn. True coolaide drinkers. But it is so hurtful, so false, so untrue that a person such as myself, who created a family tradition of serving meals on Christmas day in the homeless shelter and taught his kids to literally give their coats off their backs to those in need would generalize a group Shawn presents as down and out as being "santas broken toys". Shawn is a liar, and people who know me, my neighbors or family members, who know my passion for defending the LDS Church, would not recognize such a person.

Now I am going to provide a reason wherein I may have no recollection about saying something this awful. Because I said it in a positive way, and forgot it. Then I did not write it down, but said it in a very positive way. The "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" show has a scene depicting the "Island of Misfit Toys".

On the Island, the Misfit Toys are all misunderstood, and need love. Our opening conversation was about my belief that people coming to believe in God, regardless of denomination, is a good thing. I may have observed that many of the folks at his presentation were like the Misfit Toys who needed special treatment, and it was positive that they were found by Santa. Shawn notes, derisively, that I acknowledged we are all broken toys. He then did his Kreskin mind-reading to detect my attitude was one of arrogance. No way on Earth that I would be negatively judgmental about those people, or the folks at the restaurant.

That is the only way I can conceive that I may have said anything about "Misfit" or "broken" toys, because were it negative, and repeated, it would be in my notes.

Thanks,
Bob

Anonymous said...

Bob and I have blogged together for quit a few years. Although lately I have little time to read or post for that matter, I have never seen Bob make a derogatory comment about anyone. The closest thing to a derogatory comment I saw coming from bob was back in 2006 on Shawn’s heart of the matter blog page where Bob told someone to “next time bring your “A” game”, and then latter on he recanted his comment.

I would ask the other readers of this blog to go back and read any of Bob’s post and show us how many times Bob’s resorted to name calling. As far as I can see the only names he’s called anybody so far are a liar and a Strawman, and I think he was justified in those situations.

Brothers under the same God
Maddog

Anonymous said...

How does Shawn come off to you as a liar? All of the shows that I have seen (which aren't that many, I will admit) he presents info straight from your church history. So are you saying that you are in dispute with your own church history?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

The thing I find troubling and wrong with Shawn's presentation is not so much what he shows, but what he leaves out. Let's use the Elijah Abel example again.

Despite the fact that Joseph Smith personally ordained Elijah Abel, and there is no evidence that he rescinded that, and that Joseph Smith advocated abolition of slavery as part of his presidential platform and wrote in 1841 that Blacks would be worshiping in the temple with Whites and all other denominations; and despite the easily documented fact that one of the reasons the LDS were driven from Missouri was because of their position on freeing slaves and creating an area of freedom for slaves, and despite the fact that Elijah Abel served multiple missions for the Church throughout his live into the 1880's, and was in the 3rd Quorum of the 70 throughout that time; and despite the ordination of his (Black) son Enoch in 1900 and his (Black) grandson's ordination as an elder in the LDS Church in 1935, Shawn still preferred to read an erroneous statement by Harold B. Lee from 1961 saying Elijah Abel had been stripped of his priesthood, and the action affirmed by the next three presidents of the Church (Young, Taylor, Woodruff).

Furthermore, he fails to note that Brigham Young himself or his brother, while the two were serving a mission in 1837, baptized and ordained a Black elder in New England. He also fails to mention that Wilford Woodruff had yet another Black Elder as a mission companion, who became the 1ST black man to preside over a mostly white congregation of LDS believers ever, in the city of Boston.

Were there racists and racist statements by leaders after Joseph Smith? Yes. But was that even remotely a feature of Joseph Smith? No. And was Elijah Abel stripped of his ordination by Joseph Smith or any other LDS President? NO. So why not tell the correct story?

Because his goal is not to get the truth out, but to try to tell the story in such a way to make good look evil. Leave out enough details, and we can make Jesus sound like a nut who's only feature was physically assaulting lawful peddlers in the Temple.

Is that the kind of abbreviated story an "expert" on LDS history should be telling?

M said...

"Despite the fact that Joseph Smith personally ordained Elijah Abel, and there is no evidence that he rescinded that, and that Joseph Smith advocated abolition of slavery as part of his presidential platform and wrote in 1841 that Blacks would be worshiping in the temple with Whites and all other denominations; and despite the easily documented fact that one of the reasons the LDS were driven from Missouri was because of their position on freeing slaves and creating an area of freedom for slaves,"

This is true. In Truman Madsen's recorded lectures the Prophet Joseph, he tells the story of how two black women showed up on his and Emma's doorstep looking for a place to stay because they were running from slavery. Joseph and Emma let them live with them, not as slaves nor servants, but as part of the family. From all the reading I have done, Joseph Smith was not racist, at least not in the way other people, who called themselves Christians, were at the time. You are right about this Bob.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Nathan wrote:

"Bob, in a comment stream before someone asked you the question, "What did you mean about the constant contradictions in the Bible?" And then there was another one, "How come the church doesn't have an official position on the geography of the Book of Mormon?" And you never answered them. Did you waffle on answering these questions? Do you lack confidence in being able to answer these questions?"

Sorry, this was about time not evasion. So let's answer them today. This may require two responses, so bear with me.

The original point I was making is from the "Quack, Quack..." blog posting, and was as follows:

"I just laugh to think Shawn characterizes me as "deceptive" when he goes on TV with less than half the truth every week. Mormonism may be false, but if the yardstick is the Bible, then Shawn is 'falser', given the non-stop contradictions of the Bible."

The meaning there is Shawn is constantly contradicting the Bible, and when confronted, if he let's someone get that far on air, then he blows it off.

Examples are many. His self-justifying interpretation of his fleshy desires as not needing to be repented of. His statement that all the commandments are really just the Two Great Commandments, instead of there actually being additional commandments. His interpretation that Bible is unnecessary for salvation. His attacks on other faiths, rather than only defending his own faith. In regard to this last one, the only folks Jesus attacked were hypocrites within the Jewish faith, which was his own faith.

Shawn's statements of the wrong purpose of the Temple, ignoring Acts 21:17-27 wherein Paul, some 25 years or so after Jesus' crucifixion, goes into the Temple, pays for animal sacrifices for himself and other Christians, and makes covenants there. Hmm, Paul a Mormon?

Shawn's explanation of the Melchizedek priesthood is completely uninformed by history or Christian practice. It ignores the teaching of the Bible (1 Peter 2:5,9; Exodus 19:6; Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).

Shawn's explanation of Grace and works ignores the explicit teachings in the Bible on works (John 15:10; John 17:3, 1 Jn 2:3-4, 3:24; Phil 2:12; Gal 5:4; Heb 5:9, 6:15, 10:26; 1 Cor 9:24-27; Mark 16:16; 2 Cor 7:8-10, 12:21; Romans 5:18, all of chapter 6; Rev 3:4; Col 1:10; 2 Thes 1:5; Rev 16:6; Matt 10:22)

I have repeatedly posted about his false statements that the OT did not allow Hebrews to own Hebrew slaves, directly contradicted by Ex 21:1-11. And it ignores the NT teachings approving of Christian slaves being owned by Christians (Philemon ring any bells? 1Tim 6:2; Eph 6:9; Col 4:1).

I actually appreciate the question, Nathan, as it really does show how Shawn contradicts the Bible by telling only a small part of the whole story. I would gladly expound further, if you find these responses inadequate.
Thanks,
Bob

Bob the Anti-Anti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob the Anti-Anti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Answering the second part of Nathan or whoever's question about the official geography of the Book of Mormon: Why does the Church not publish one?

Because it misses the point of the BoM. The BoM is a spiritual witness, with adequate evidence for a reasonable belief, but no proof to prevent people being "forced" to believe. I put it in quotes, because "proof" is something scientifically irrefutable. People who hang their hat on such things inevitably are thrown around by the prevailing "proof".

Don't believe that? Let's think of Bart Ehrman. He wrote and studied and lived as a Christian, until he could not reconcile the "proof" of Biblical errors with the theological conclusions being reached from the incorrect application of the evidence. So he opts for human explanations now for the Bible because the concept of a perfect Bible is documentably false.

So faith turns into knowledge, in his case turning him with his level of knowledge completely against belief in God.

The BoM has adequate evidence to create a plausible system of beliefs. It talks about issues unknown to Joseph Smith in 1829 which have been shown to be correct. Yet it still has items which allow those who choose not to believe to reasonably reject the BoM if they fail to seek a spiritual witness with a faithful heart.

I know through the action of the Spirit the BoM is true, and not because I know where to find Zarahemla. Cement and Barley and getting quotations of text from the NT correct which were unsubstantiated in 1829 played no role in my conversion, since they could be unreliable. Only faith transcends the variables of knowledge through the bridge of the Spirit.

You can draw your own map of the BoM lands, as several authors have done. There will be some variation. But pick up Pate's or Allen's or Sorenson's books, and work through the internal geographic references, and it becomes obvious that early explanations that the Book covered all of North and South America are not sustainable. And, in a remarkable insight from Joseph Smith, he explained that he himself was not the expert, the Book was.

So the map is there, printed in words. That is not a dodge, it is the reality of reading the BoM carefully. Try it some time with that object in mind. It will change your life.

Bob

Walker said...

Good point, M.

I think you are referring to Jane Elizabeth Manning James. It should be noted that in her account, the Smith family offered to adopt her as their child.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

In the post on contradictions of the Bible by Shawn, I incorrectly wrote the following:

"His interpretation that Bible is unnecessary for salvation."

It should have had "baptism" instead of "Bible", thus correctly reading:

"His interpretation that baptism is unnecessary for salvation."

Support for this is found in Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5, etc. Also, the early Christians, Justin Martyr, Clement and just about every writer for the first 4 centuries of Christian history, but all of the writers who knew the Apostles who wrote the scriptures, noted Baptism was essential to salvation.

Thanks,
Bob

Anonymous said...

A good site to check out is http://www.calldrmatt.com/Born_Again_Mormon_1.htm Dr Matt Moody is a social psychologist and he has written extensively on the teachings of Shawn McCraney.
Dr. Matt points out that Shawn has a problem with telling the truth when it comes to Mormonism. I guess trying to be right in the eyes of your followers is more important then telling the truth.

Maddog

Cody D said...

Bob,

You said this earlier in this blog:

"I know through the action of the Spirit the BoM is true"

So I have a question for you.

I am a Christian, and I know through the Spirit in me that the Bible is true. So is the Holy Spirit lying to one of us?

Thanks.

Walker said...

"I am a Christian, and I know through the Spirit in me that the Bible is true. So is the Holy Spirit lying to one of us?"

I'd say it is the same Spirit. You have just assumed incorrectly that one or the other must be true instead of both.

"Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true. “This is written,” an ancient prophet said, speaking of the Book of Mormon, “for the intent that ye may believe that,” speaking of the Bible. In one of the earliest revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, "My Words...Never Cease," Ensign, May 2008)

JediMormon said...

Shawn gave at a church in Salt Lake. He said, ... He said that you remarked,"..." And Shawn said, "We are all broken toys, Brother." And you said, "..." Does this dinner with Shawn ring a bell? Do you remember this? Pretty despicable, Bob. I would hold off on that call to your lawyer.

Interesting. I see some "Shawn said," some "He said that you remarked"... In the legal business, that's called hearsay, and is not admissible in court. According to the Bible, bearing false witness is a sin. All this quacking and clucking going on, and I've still YET to see any proof that Bob actually made the Santa's broken toys statement. All we have it Shawn's very unreliable word. Come on folks, cough up or shut up! (Politely stated, of course.)

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Cody,
I think that most of the so-called contradictions you assert are actually the result of those things cited by God in the First Vision. They teach for doctrines of God the philosophies of men. The doctrine of the Trinity is front and center. GL Prestige, author of "God In Patristic Thought", a respected conservative Christian quoted by no less an anti-Mormon authority than Mr. James White, notes that the concept of "the doctrine of the trinity was reached by true rational development" (pg XV). So the item seen as one of most important and differentiating between LDS and non-LDS is not one found in the Bible, but in the interpretation of the Bible.

To claim "self-authentication" for the Trinity would therefore allow any doctrine for Mary-worship to the payment of indulgences to equally claim 'Biblical' authority and documentation by the Spirit because you Interpret the Bible in a way consistent with your world view. By contrast, the LDS method requires one to study it out, compare to scripture, and learn to be spiritually in tune. It would not, therefore, authenticate as True someone's hobby, if in fact God is involved. Just as the two disciples' "heart burn within" them on the road to Emmaus as they walked with Jesus and he unfolded the meaning of the scriptures, so too that experience awaits Christians who seek God's hand in validating truth.

And such revelation is routinely denied by critics of the LDS Church as being self delusion.

Claiming "rational development" as revelation is to make men into God's, and not in a reverential manner.

Melissa said...

Cody,

Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is true because of Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:4 -

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

The faith of a Christian is different. A Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit, that the fantastical things, the Bible teaches about Christ, are true. So s/he will have faith and know that her/his faith is founded on knowledge. This is so because the Christian doesn't really need to pray as to whether or not the stories in the Bible are true, at least not from a historical viewpoint, due to all the scientific research conducted that verifies the historicity of it. Granted, there are scholars who disagree on the details.

The problem for Mormons is that they can't even get that far. They may try to tell you that they can, but they can't, because there is no body of evidence with which they can disagree, that supports at least the historicity of the BoM.

Here is another point to ponder - why do you think we cannot find any promise in the Bible that is similar to Moroni's promise in the BoM? To answer this, imagine that you are an ancient prophet writing a record for future generations to read. Of course, in your mind, you are not ancient. You are yourself, in the present, writing a record of current events for the future. What is the most important thing on your mind then? Is it to write a record clearly and concisely, with no mistakes, and store it somewhere safe? Or is to make sure that future generations will believe the tale that you are telling? I would say the former and this is why we can't find a "Moroni's promise" in the Bible. If you think about being Moroni and having just gone through the trauma of losing, not only your family, but your entire people and wanting to preserve a record of them, would you really be concerned with whether or not people in the future will believe your story? Or would you take it for granted, and thus not even think about it, that these future generations finding the record itself would be evidence enough for them to believe? You see, only a person writing a tall tale, that isn't true, will be concerned with whether or not it is accepted as true, especially if that person is writing a book they hope will be comparable to the Bible. And I'm not suggesting that Moroni wrote a tall tale. I am suggesting that Joseph Smith did.

Melissa said...

Cody,

Here are some good videos to watch from Living Hope Ministries:

The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1mFdO1wB08

DNA vs. The Book of Mormon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svfxSscxh8o

The Lost Book of Abraham:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

JediMormon said...

Melissa said: "Here is another point to ponder - why do you think we cannot find any promise in the Bible that is similar to Moroni's promise in the BoM?"

We CAN find a promise in the Bible that is similar: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6) And that's exactly what Joseph Smith did. He had visited many churches in his area, had listened to the sermons preached there. He wanted to know which of all the churches was the right one. One day, as he was reading the Bible, he came across the verses I just quoted. He decided that he would do just as James had advised: ask God. Since then, millions of people have put that same advice to use, me included.

David said...

Jedi, this is completely different from Moroni's promise:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6)

This is talking about praying to God for wisdom, not praying to God to know whether or not the Bible story is true. That was Melissa's point - only someone who is writing a fictional tale, hoping people will except it as a real story, will worry about whether or not people will believe it. That is why there is nothing like Moroni's promise in the Bible. She is right.

Walker said...

"A Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit, that the fantastical things, the Bible teaches about Christ, are true."

Um..."he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost" sounds a lot like "a Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit..."

"due to all the scientific research conducted that verifies the historicity of it"

Which part? William Dever has pointed out that there is no direct evidence for the Exodus.

"that supports at least the historicity of the BoM"

There is actually a fair amount of circumstantial evidence. Since you like YouTube videos, try out this:

http://www.youtube.com/user/bookmormon

The whole list of videos is good.

"You see, only a person writing a tall tale, that isn't true, will be concerned with whether or not it is accepted as true, especially if that person is writing a book they hope will be comparable to the Bible."

This entire argument makes no sense, especially since the compilation of the BoM is not the same as the Bible. The Bible is not a consistent narrative or theology put together by a single editor.

I've written on the importance of personal revelation and the significance of Moroni's promise.

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/09/for-sean-personal-testimony.html

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/11/for-sean-moronis-promise.html

Moroni's promise is very similar to Matt. 7:7, John 7:17, & Proverbs 2:1-5.

Walker said...

"The Bible vs. Book of Mormon"

I gave you a link for BoM evidence, but I suggest Brant Gardner (Ph.D., Mesoamerican Ethnohistory) "Behind the Mask, Behind the Curtain: Uncovering the Illusion," FARMS Review: Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2005.

"DNA vs. the Book of Mormon"

See Dr. John M. Butler (Project Leader, Human Identity
DNA Measurements Group
Biochemical Science Division
Chemical Science & Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology) "A Few Thoughts From a Believing DNA Scientist," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume - 12, Issue - 1, 2003.

"The Lost Book of Abraham"

See John Gee (Ph.D., Egyptology) "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence of the Joseph Smith Papyri," The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, 2000

Ben McGuire, "Responding to Errors in an Anti-Mormon Film," FAIR, 2002-2003

JediMormon said...

Melissa said: "Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is true because of Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:4"

Actually, the reason Mormons beleive that the Book of Mormon is true, is not because of the promise in Moroni. They believe it's true because they've tested the promise by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true or not. I did it, and so have millions of others.

Anonymous said...

Walker's providing his "sources" below is like the Flat Earth Society trying to debunk the moon landing. It's laughable!


"I gave you a link for BoM evidence, but I suggest Brant Gardner (Ph.D., Mesoamerican Ethnohistory) "Behind the Mask, Behind the Curtain: Uncovering the Illusion," FARMS Review: Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2005.

See Dr. John M. Butler (Project Leader, Human Identity
DNA Measurements Group
Biochemical Science Division
Chemical Science & Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology) "A Few Thoughts From a Believing DNA Scientist," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume - 12, Issue - 1, 2003.

See John Gee (Ph.D., Egyptology) "Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence of the Joseph Smith Papyri," The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, 2000

Ben McGuire, "Responding to Errors in an Anti-Mormon Film," FAIR, 2002-2003"

David said...

"This entire argument makes no sense, especially since the compilation of the BoM is not the same as the Bible. The Bible is not a consistent narrative or theology put together by a single editor."

On the contrary, her argument is very sound and well thought out. She is right. Think about it - did the Jews who placed the Dead Sea Scrolls (which is a collection of writings of prophets) in the cave at Qumran feel it necessary to write a "Moroni's promise" and leave it with them? Were they worried as to whether or not the people who found them in the 1900s would believe them? No, because they weren't even thinking about it when they left them there. And if Moroni had been a real prophet who lived in those times as well and left a collection of prophets' writings for others to find later on, he would have done the same. Melissa's argument is absolutely sound and is one of the best I've seen on this blog. I'm surprised it hadn't occurred to anyone else before.

Anonymous said...

""A Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit, that the fantastical things, the Bible teaches about Christ, are true."

Um..."he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost" sounds a lot like "a Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit...""


You need to read the next sentence Walker:

"A Christian believes through faith, and the Holy Spirit, that the fantastical things, the Bible teaches about Christ, are true. So s/he will have faith and know that her/his faith is founded on knowledge. This is so because the Christian doesn't really need to pray as to whether or not the stories in the Bible are true, at least not from a historical viewpoint, due to all the scientific research conducted that verifies the historicity of it."

A Christian's faith is founded on knowledge. A Mormon's faith is not. This is why Mormons have to constantly work to maintain their testimony - because it is made of smoke. It is not made of anything substantial and will drift away if it is not maintained. On the other hand, once someone becomes a truly born again Christian, they never lose their testimony and they don't have to work to maintain it.

Your comment about the Exodus is moot. And given that archaeologists use the Bible as a guide and have never used the BoM, and will never use it, that says something as to the credence that the secular world gives to it. Contrary to what Jeffrey Holland may claim, the BoM doesn't still stand. In fact, it never really did, at least not in the secular world. Sorry!

Walker said...

"Walker's providing his "sources" below is like the Flat Earth Society trying to debunk the moon landing. It's laughable!"

And Anonymous providing absolutely nothing is staggering with its intellectual power!

Walker said...

"On the contrary, her argument is very sound and well thought out."

If the BoM was not compiled in the same fashion as the Bible, then no, it isn't a good argument. And it wasn't.

"he would have done the same"

Says who? You? The Qumran community may have thought they would be returning later. You can only speculate with the Qumaranites' thought process. Moroni is very clear with his.

If false, Moroni's promise is probably one of the dumbest things Joseph Smith could have put at the end of the book.

"Melissa's argument is absolutely sound and is one of the best I've seen on this blog."

Well, we now know your standard of argumentation.

Walker said...

"A Christian's faith is founded on knowledge. A Mormon's faith is not."

And how was this knowledge obtained? She says, "through faith, and the Holy Spirit." Moroni's promise talks of the same thing. Knowledge is obtained by the Holy Ghost.

"On the other hand, once someone becomes a truly born again Christian, they never lose their testimony and they don't have to work to maintain it"

This is a naked assertion that has no support whatsoever.

"Your comment about the Exodus is moot"

It isn't when you are going to say that scientific research verifies the historicity of the Bible. What is moot is that archeologists use the Bible in research. This doesn't make it historically verified in all cases. I'm surprised that you think secular usage of the Bible somehow verifies it.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, the reason Mormons beleive that the Book of Mormon is true, is not because of the promise in Moroni. They believe it's true because they've tested the promise by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true or not. I did it, and so have millions of others."

You just proved Melissa's point. It is his promise that leads you to test it which leads you to believe.

Anonymous said...

"The Bible is not a consistent narrative or theology put together by a single editor."

No, it is a compilation of writings that forms a consistent narrative and theology, created by many authors and put together by Jewish scribes for the OT and by members of the Christian church during the times of the NT. And this fact alone makes it a miracle. So much so that it would never need something as ridiculous as a "Moroni's promise."

Cody D said...

JediMormon,

"Actually, the reason Mormons beleive that the Book of Mormon is true, is not because of the promise in Moroni. They believe it's true because they've tested the promise by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true or not. I did it, and so have millions of others."

But I know that the Bible is true. And Muslims know the Quran is true. Is God lying to one of us?

Cody D

Cody D said...

Walker,

“Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, "My Words...Never Cease," Ensign, May 2008)

Please explain how the BoM will build the Bible up. I have never once read in the Bible about becoming gods, or the Celestial, Tellestial, and Terrestial kingdoms. No where in there does it talk about temple marriage or anything of the sort. I am really curious as to what Jeff Holland meant on the subject.

Cody D

JediMormon said...

Anonymous said: "You just proved Melissa's point. It is his promise that leads you to test it which leads you to believe."

Correction of Melissa and Anonymous: It is his promise that leads you to test it, [and the witness from the Holy Ghost as a result of that test] which leads you to believe. Simply praying about it will not lead a person to believe. It's the ANSWER to that prayer, i.e. a witness from the Holy Ghost, that lead me, and millions of others, to believe.

Walker said...

"Bible about becoming gods...kingdoms"

I would say then that you haven't read it very carefully. This type of questioning also leads me to believe that you have a very limited (if any) knowledge of the BoM.

"I am really curious as to what Jeff Holland meant on the subject."

The BoM's central theme is Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His Resurrection. It bridges the teachings of the Old and New Testament. The NT is made up of testimonies regarding Christ's ministry and literal resurrection. The BoM adds to this collection of witnesses.

Walker said...

Here is an excerpt from a blog entry of mine on the subject:

Ludlow also recognizes that "Moroni indicates that the person should 'remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.'...However, the account of the Creation and subsequent happenings are not contained in the Book of Mormon...Thus, if a sincere person hasn’t gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon after reading it, he should—as Moroni seems to suggest here—read the Bible as well, pondering in his heart both scriptural accounts of God’s dealings with his children."10

10. David H. Ludlow, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Mar. 1986

Walker said...

"It is his promise that leads you to test it which leads you to believe."

And the gospel accounts of Christ's resurrection lead you to believe in it. What is your point?

Anonymous said...

"The Qumran community may have thought they would be returning later. You can only speculate with the Qumaranites' thought process."

No Walker, if you studied on the subject you would know that the people of the time were hiding them to protect them. Because of the events of the Jewish Revolt, they knew they were not coming back.

Anonymous said...

""On the other hand, once someone becomes a truly born again Christian, they never lose their testimony and they don't have to work to maintain it"

This is a naked assertion that has no support whatsoever."

Wrong again. Just go talk to the billions of Christians out there and you will be able to see the support of that statement.

Anonymous said...

"It isn't when you are going to say that scientific research verifies the historicity of the Bible. What is moot is that archeologists use the Bible in research."

Not quite. Go talk to people at the Smithsonian.

"I'm surprised that you think secular usage of the Bible somehow verifies it."

You shouldn't be but then again you're Mormon. It seems Mormons will only believe something if there is either no evidence for it or if there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against it. The BoM, PoGP and the false prophecies in the D&C have been disproved again and again. Deal with it Walker.

Anonymous said...

"If false, Moroni's promise is probably one of the dumbest things Joseph Smith could have put at the end of the book."

Being that it is false, it is. Glad you can admit that Walker!

Cody D said...

JediMormon,

"It's the ANSWER to that prayer, i.e. a witness from the Holy Ghost, that lead me, and millions of others, to believe."

The Holy Ghost is telling me that the Bible is true. And the Muslim's will tell them they KNOW the Quran is true. Is the Holy Ghost lying to us?

Cody D

D said...

"nd the gospel accounts of Christ's resurrection lead you to believe in it. What is your point?"

Her point on the matter is clearly stated above. Go back and read it, Walker, and quit asking useless questions.

JediMormon said...

"The Holy Ghost is telling me that the Bible is true. And the Muslim's will tell them they KNOW the Quran is true. Is the Holy Ghost lying to us?"

Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty. First, do the Muslims claim an actual witness from the Holy Ghost as to the truthfulness of the Quran? If they do, I've never heard about it. If they want to believe that the Quran is God's word, I have absolutely no problem with that, just as I have no problem with anyone who claims to be a born-again Christian. Now, you seem to assume that because the Holy Ghost told you that the Bible is true, and that because I have a witness that the Book of Mormon is true, the Holy Ghost must be lying to one of us. Do you not see the flaw in that logic? The Holy Ghost DOES NOT LIE--never has, never will. I would submit that until you yourself have put Moroni's promise to an honest test, your claim that the Book of Mormon is false, is just personal opinion. (Which you have every right to, of course.) There is nothing in the Bible that refutes the Book of Mormon, nothing that says, "the Bible is God's only word". The Bible itself states that it does not contain all the words of Jesus, not even a hundredth part of them.

Walker said...

"Because of the events of the Jewish Revolt, they knew they were not coming back"

I'm not advocating that they thought they were. I'm pointing out that their mindset is not known explicitly (unlike Moroni). You are correct that the evidence points to them expecting not to return. Forgive me for not being more clear.

Walker said...

"Just go talk to the billions of Christians out there and you will be able to see the support of that statement."

Billions of Christians telling me they will never lose their testimonies? How would this prove anything? Anyone can say, "I'll never lose it!" But it happens. Just ask Bart Ehrman. Or was he not a real Christian to begin with?

Walker said...

"You shouldn't be but then again you're Mormon. It seems Mormons will only believe something if there is either no evidence for it or if there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against it. The BoM, PoGP and the false prophecies in the D&C have been disproved again and again. Deal with it Walker."

You really need to come up with substantiated comments. Your unsupported assertions are tiresome.

Walker said...

"Being that it is false, it is. Glad you can admit that Walker!"

Glad to see that by this comment you admit that the railing against Moroni's promise is then misplaced.

Walker said...

"Is the Holy Ghost lying to us?"

No. Why should I assume that?

Walker said...

"Go back and read it, Walker, and quit asking useless questions."

Her point was ridiculous. Saying a belief is wrong because a book was the catalyst of it is ludicrous, especially for anyone who believes in the resurrection of Christ.

Am I to assume you all agree with Matt Slick: "You don't pray about truth, you go to the Bible and you look there to find it."

Anonymous said...

"You really need to come up with substantiated comments. Your unsupported assertions are tiresome."

All the evidence given from the comments on this blog from non-mormons should give you an answer to that. Go back and read them ...

JediMormon said...

"The BoM, PoGP and the false prophecies in the D&C have been disproved again and again."

Almost anything can be disproved if one wants to bad enough. The fact is, no amount of slick reasoning, finger pointing, or dancing around the truth will convince most LDS to give up what they have, me included. And, the fact is, no amount of so-call proof that supposedly disproves the four standard works of the LDS church will ever sway me to deny what I know to be true. I some one can offer better proof or evidence than what I received through a witness from the Holy Ghost, I'd like to hear it.

Anonymous said...

JediMormon,

"First, do the Muslims claim an actual witness from the Holy Ghost as to the truthfulness of the Quran? If they do, I've never heard about it."

But, if they pray, and claim to hear that their book is true, what is wrong with that? Can LDS AND Muslims both be right?

"The Holy Ghost DOES NOT LIE--never has, never will."

I totally agree with that statement. So is their something wrong with MY prayer, as a Christian, if I'm getting the same answer as you?

Cody D

Anonymous said...

"Her point was ridiculous. Saying a belief is wrong because a book was the catalyst of it is ludicrous, especially for anyone who believes in the resurrection of Christ.

Am I to assume you all agree with Matt Slick: "You don't pray about truth, you go to the Bible and you look there to find it.""

Her point was that a Christian's faith is based on knowledge and solid foundation. Face it Walker, the Mormon belief system is not.

M said...

"Or was he not a real Christian to begin with?"

I think you have touched upon a truth here Walker. Anyone who experiences true spiritual conversion, otherwise known as rebirth or being born again, as Christ talks about it in the Bible, will never lose their testimony of it. In your case, I would say that you show your devotion and love for Christ through your belief in the Mormon Church and your service to it. This doesn't mean that you are not a truly born again Christian. It just means that Christ works through you differently than other Christians. This is what I would say, at least. There are those who would disagree with me. IMHO, a person's spiritual rebirth is about their relationship with Christ, not about which church they attend.

JediMormon said...

"Her point was that a Christian's faith is based on knowledge and solid foundation. Face it Walker, the Mormon belief system is not."

Nothing is more SOLID that a witness from God through the Holy Ghost. For some reason, ya'll seem to keep dodging around this issue. I would submit, that because of this witness, Mormons have the most solid foundation of all.

JediMormon said...

Cody said: "I totally agree with that statement. So is their something wrong with MY prayer, as a Christian, if I'm getting the same answer as you?"

Not sure what you mean by getting the same answer as you. If you are saying that you know via a witness from the HG that the Bible is God's word, then of course I see nothing wrong with that, as I believe that's exactly what will happen if a person prays sincerely to know if the Bible is God's word. As I've said before, LDS believe that a witness from the Holy Ghost is highest possible witness for the truth you can get. There is nothing higher.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing is more SOLID that a witness from God through the Holy Ghost. For some reason, ya'll seem to keep dodging around this issue. I would submit, that because of this witness, Mormons have the most solid foundation of all."

Not when there is so much factual evidence that proves that the Mormon faith claims are completely wrong.

Here are some video links that someone gave above:

The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1mFdO1wB08

DNA vs. The Book of Mormon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svfxSscxh8o

The Lost Book of Abraham:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

JediMormon said...

JediMormon said: "Nothing is more SOLID that a witness from God through the Holy Ghost. For some reason, ya'll seem to keep dodging around this issue. I would submit, that because of this witness, Mormons have the most solid foundation of all."

Anonymous said: "Not when there is so much factual evidence that proves that the Mormon faith claims are completely wrong."

Anonymous, are you claiming that a witness from the Holy Ghost can be trumped by mortal man's "factual evidence"?

I beg to differ. No amount of evidence, factual or otherwise, will ever be more reliable than a witness from the Holy Ghost. That's why I have stated before that a witness from the Holy Ghost as to the truth of something, renders all other "evidence" a moot point. When the Holy Ghost has spoken, that's the end of the argument. There's no more yes-it-is no-it-isn't debate to be had.

Cody D said...

JediMormon,

"Not sure what you mean by getting the same answer as you. If you are saying that you know via a witness from the HG that the Bible is God's word, then of course I see nothing wrong with that, as I believe that's exactly what will happen if a person prays sincerely to know if the Bible is God's word."

But if the Holy Ghost is telling me the Bible is right, whose religion is wrong?

Cody D

Walker said...

"Her point was that a Christian's faith is based on knowledge and solid foundation."

Yet she doesn't do a very good job of distinguishing the "knowledge and solid foundation" of evangelicals from the belief of Mormons.

"Face it Walker, the Mormon belief system is not."

I love how many "face it" comments I get.

Walker said...

"Anyone who experiences true spiritual conversion, otherwise known as rebirth or being born again, as Christ talks about it in the Bible, will never lose their
testimony of it."

To a degree, I could agree with this. I think the problem and disagreements arise when this becomes conflated with "once saved, always saved."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for the youtube links. It was nice to re-watch parts of them again.

I have to ask a simple question, do you think the people at Living Hope Ministries (LHM) have any interest in telling the truth about Mormonism and the BOM? Better yet, would General Motors produce a video telling the world that Toyota’s are better cars, or would they down play their competitors quality?

I’ve been to the places in Mesoamerica that anti-Mormon’s say don’t exist, but in fact they do. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. I like the part in “DNA vs. the Book of Mormon” where Thomas Murphy is seated at the base of one of the temples at Palenque and states “There isn’t any evidence in Mesoamerica to support the BOM”, LOL is this guy for real? Evidence for the BOM is all over Palenque and the rest of Mesoamerica. When you control the movie scrip and the camera you can try to pass off almost anything as fact, and LHM are masters at doing this.

If you’re at all interested Dr. John Lund wrote a book titled “Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, is This The Place?” Dr. Lund dose a great job of providing real world evidence for the BOM from thousands of sources with foot notes and cross references to support his claims. It’s worth looking into.

As a former anti-Mormon I can tell you there was never a coin so thin that it had only one side. It was only when I began to examine the other side of the coin that I had to honestly admit that I might be wrong.

Maddog

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, are you claiming that a witness from the Holy Ghost can be trumped by mortal man's "factual evidence"?"

Does it trump your claim of a witness from the Holy Ghost? Yes, definitely.


"I beg to differ. No amount of evidence, factual or otherwise, will ever be more reliable than a witness from the Holy Ghost. That's why I have stated before that a witness from the Holy Ghost as to the truth of something, renders all other "evidence" a moot point. When the Holy Ghost has spoken, that's the end of the argument. There's no more yes-it-is no-it-isn't debate to be had."

This reasoning is absolutely absurd and I will tell you why. If you were to, all the sudden, become deathly ill from some virus, would you go to see a doctor or would you pray to the Holy Spirit for a witness that you will get better? Would you rely on medical science or would you pray to God for healing? My guess would be that if your life depended on it, you would seek help from medical science and go to the doctor. The reason for this is simple. It is because we know that science works and we know that it tells us truths about our world. This is the same science that has shown overwhelmingly that the Mormon faith claims are completely false. Believing that your impression from the "Holy Spirit" in a prayer trumps all evidence is not only foolish, it is dangerous. It is the kind of brain washing and mind control that leads to events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Jedi, if I were you, I would seriously rethink what you believe about the "Holy Spirit" trumping scientific evidence.

Anonymous said...

"I think the problem and disagreements arise when this becomes conflated with "once saved, always saved.""

This is correct. We believe that Christ's love is unconditional.

Anonymous said...

"If you’re at all interested Dr. John Lund wrote a book titled “Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, is This The Place?” Dr. Lund dose a great job of providing real world evidence for the BOM from thousands of sources with foot notes and cross references to support his claims."

Maddog, the only problem with this theory is that Joseph Smith said that everything happened at the hill Cumorah in New York. In his story about Moroni's visit, Moroni says, "This continent", meaning North America. Thomas Murphy is right when he says that there can be no real world setting because in order to place it somewhere semi plausible, you have to change Joseph Smith's story and the text of the BoM itself. Sorry!

JD said...

This is right on Anonymous!

"This reasoning is absolutely absurd and I will tell you why. If you were to, all the sudden, become deathly ill from some virus, would you go to see a doctor or would you pray to the Holy Spirit for a witness that you will get better? Would you rely on medical science or would you pray to God for healing? My guess would be that if your life depended on it, you would seek help from medical science and go to the doctor. The reason for this is simple. It is because we know that science works and we know that it tells us truths about our world. This is the same science that has shown overwhelmingly that the Mormon faith claims are completely false. Believing that your impression from the "Holy Spirit" in a prayer trumps all evidence is not only foolish, it is dangerous. It is the kind of brain washing and mind control that leads to events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Jedi, if I were you, I would seriously rethink what you believe about the "Holy Spirit" trumping scientific evidence."

Anonymous said...

Maddog,

You might want to take a look at this video of Robert J. Lifton:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yDoPD5GeCE

And study his definition of a cult (pay close attention to Sacred Science):

Milieu Control – The control of information and communication.

Mystical Manipulation – The manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated.

Demand for Purity – The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.

Confession – Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.

Sacred Science – The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.

Loading the Language – The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.

Doctrine over person – The member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

Dispensing of existence – The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.

JediMormon said...

Following is my reply to an email received from Anonymous. My first statement is what generated Anon's email.

Jedi: When the Holy Ghost has spoken, that's the end of the argument. There's no more yes-it-is no-it-isn't debate to be had.

Anon: This reasoning is absolutely absurd and I will tell you why.
Jedi: I would venture to say that you have never experienced a witness from the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, you would not be labeling my statement about the Holy Ghost being the ultimate proof of truth, as absurd.

Anon: If you were to, all the sudden, become deathly ill from some virus, would you go to see a doctor or would you pray to the Holy Spirit for a witness that you will get better?
Jedi: That’s a new one. I have never prayed to the Holy Spirit for a witness that I would get better, and I know of no LDS who has done so.

Anon: Would you rely on medical science or would you pray to God for healing? My guess would be that if your life depended on it, you would seek help from medical science and go to the doctor.
Jedi: We do, on occasion, lay hands on the sick, and through the power of the holy priesthood, give them such blessing as the spirit directs. We also seek help from the medical community. But praying for a witness that we will get better? Never heard of it occurring .

Anon: The reason[for relying on medical science] for this is simple. It is because we know that science works and we know that it tells us truths about our world.
Jedi: Anon, I’m beginning to think that you put more trust in science than you do Jesus Christ. That’s the path your conversation seems to be headed, anyway.

Anon: This is the same science that has shown overwhelmingly that the Mormon faith claims are completely false.
Jedi: I personally have never seen any of this “overwhelming science” you refer to. Perhaps, instead of making claims about it, you could show me some?

Anon: Believing that your impression from the "Holy Spirit" in a prayer trumps all evidence is not only foolish, it is dangerous.
Jedi: On the contrary, Anon. First off, likening a witness from the Holy Ghost to an “impression”, is like trying to say that the ocean is not much different than a back yard swimming pool. That’s why I stated earlier that you apparently have never had the experience of a witness from the Holy Ghost. Further, I fail to see anything dangerous in trusting God to answer a sincere prayer. The promise in the Book of Mormon is explicit: If you read the Book (nothing dangerous about that), and pray sincerely to know if it is true or not (still nothing dangerous going on), then God will witness the truth of the book to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Hummm…no danger there, either.) I see nothing in what I just stated that would be against God's will.

Anon: It is the kind of brain washing and mind control that leads to events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Jedi: No disrespect, Anon, but that was a pretty pathetic analogy. Are you saying that being taught to pray daily to God is a form of mind control? If so, then Jesus himself was practicing mind control, big time.

Anon: Jedi, if I were you, I would seriously rethink what you believe about the "Holy Spirit" trumping scientific evidence.
Jedi: Sorry, Anon. Can’t do that. To do so would be akin to saying that science is greater than God, and that a witness from God is only good if science says it is. If I were you, I would seriously rethink your priorities, and start putting more faith in God, and less in the science you seem to believe is so almighty. Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

“the only problem with this theory is that Joseph Smith said that everything happened at the hill Cumorah in New York”

If you knew more about Mormonism You’d know that there are two hill Cumorah’s,
one hill Cumorah in New York where the plates making up the BOM were buried, and the other Rama Cumorah in Mexico where many of the BOM battles were fought. Joseph Smith is quite clear on this as Dr. Lund points out in his book.

“In his story about Moroni's visit, Moroni says, "This continent", meaning North America”

The continent is question is All of the American continent. Joseph Smith is also quite clear on this too as Dr. Lund points out.

“Thomas Murphy is right when he says that there can be no real world setting because in order to place it somewhere semi plausible, you have to change Joseph Smith's story and the text of the BoM itself. Sorry!”

First off Thomas Murphy was excommunicated and became an anti-Mormon, something the good people at LHM conveniently leave out of their videos. From what I’ve read about Tom and the Mormon Church this guy has an axe to grind with the church. As for your statement about changing Joseph Smith’s story to have plausible setting for the BOM to take place I have to disagree. As I said in my previous post Mesoamerica is the place. I’ve been to Mesoamerica and seen the places and the artifacts that anti-Mormons say don’t exist.

Many years ago I took a challenge from a Mormon coworker and read some of the books he recommended supporting the case for Mormonism and over time I had to be a big boy and admit that I might be wrong.

My challenge to you is the same one presented to me. I challenge you to start by reading Dr. Lund’s book “Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon is this the Place”


As I said before there was never a coin so thin that it had only one side.

Maddog

M said...

"To a degree, I could agree with this. I think the problem and disagreements arise when this becomes conflated with "once saved, always saved.""

Walker, when you accept Christ into your life and accept His Grace as your saving miracle, you never lose that testimony of Him and you do not get a license to commit sin freely. You enter into a love relationship with Him and then follow in the process of His sanctification. This is something that is difficult for Latter Day Saints to understand - the concept of absolute forgiveness and unconditional love. It is like when you get married. You don't assume since you have a marriage license that you are good to go and you can go have any relationship with anyone you want after that. You enter into a love relationship with your spouse in which you abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship. Furthermore, as you progress in your marriage, you no longer desire to engage in those behaviors and become fully committed to your spouse in that regard. It is the same with your relationship with Christ. Therefore, once saved, always saved.

Adrian said...

Ok here's a quick but crucial question for the LDS. For the most part it seems that when pressed for evidence in regards to your scripture you default to the answer that the Holy Spirit has given you a witness that says that your scripture is true. Fair enough. You will also disagree with non-Mormons who say that God has confirmed some different truth that contradicts LDS doctrine. How do you know that it is the Holy Spirit talking to you and not something or some one else speaking to you? As the Bible says, there is some one out there who we call the Devil who masquerades as an angel of light who seeks to destroy and is the father of lies. Also, the nature of the prayer challenge that supposedly Moroni gave opens a door to all kinds of psychological problems because it only allows for two possible outcomes. Either God says yes or nothing happens. So when you do feel something, that "burning in the bosom" it is already decided that it must be God. This is a problem because within yourself you may very well be giving yourself your own confirmation in the forms of the placebo effect, hind-sight bias, etc. which has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.
Besides, how can you insist on being right via this experience when some one like a JW will literally die in the Holocaust asserting that what the Watchtower Society says is the only truth. How do you decide who is telling the truth?

As for Maddog and your alleged trip to Mesoamerica, you apparently didn't talk with any of the locals, because they would have gladly told you that the artifacts that you are seeing belong to the Olmtecs, Toltecs, Aztecs, or Mayans. They are not from the Lamanites, Jaredites, or Nephites. Tour guides will even give you quite specific information on those artifacts that you are seeing.

Walker said...

"You enter into a love relationship with your spouse in which you abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship. Furthermore, as you progress in your marriage, you no longer desire to engage in those behaviors and become fully committed to your spouse in that regard. It is the same with your relationship with Christ."

An excellent analogy in my opinion. Maintaining this relationship is the key. I remind you that divorce often is the result of a party failing to "abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship." Just because someone gets married doesn't mean they will automatically remain married.

Walker said...

This rejection of the witness of the Holy Spirit I find to be very odd. Dr. William Lane Craig refers to personal spiritual experiences as "properly basic beliefs." It is an argument (based on Alvin Platinga's reformed epistemology) he consistently brings up in his debates and the one that I feel is the most fundamental. While I personally disagree with Dr. Craig on particular doctrines and therefore some of his arguments for God's existence (the Kalam Cosmological argument being one example), I find his philosophical description of spiritual experiences to be spot on. These properly basic beliefs are rooted in personal experience, through which we naturally form beliefs in certain realities (the reality of the external world, the existence of the past, etc.). None of these beliefs can be proven (meaning it cannot be confirmed that we aren't all plugged into the Matrix), but it is clearly rational to have these beliefs within the context of seeing, hearing, touching, or any kind of personal experience. When it comes to the existence of God, an immediate experience with God or the Spirit would qualify and lead to a properly basic belief in God. This belief is not arbitrary, but grounded in personal experience. In the absence of a good reason to believe the experience was delusional, one is perfectly rational to view God as an objective reality. While these personal experiences will not and should not act as empirical evidence to others, they should not be dismissed altogether.

Spiritual experiences are not to be thrown out.

Walker said...

M,

Something to go along with your marriage analogy:

"John's preference for verbs shows his emphasis upon the active and dynamic nature of faithful belief. Such believing means faithfulness to God in the same way that a husband is faithful to his wife. The meaning is one of interpersonal commitment manifested in one's entire life and activity rather than merely an acceptance of cognitive content...As Raymond Brown commented: 'Thus, pisteuein ies [belief in] may be defined in terms of an active commitment to a person...It involves much more than trust in Jesus or confidence in him; it is an acceptance of Jesus and of what he claims to be and a dedication of one's life to him. The commitment is not emotional but involves a willingness to respond to God's demands as they are presented in and by Jesus (see 1 John 3:23). This is why there is no conflict between the primacy of faith and the importance of good works...To have faith implies that one will abide the word and commands of Jesus. (John 8:31; 1 John 5:10)'" (Blake T. Ostler, "The Gospel of Grace in the Writings of John," The Testimony of John the Beloved: the 27th annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, Nov. 1998)

Walker said...

Ostler in the same article talks about abiding this relationship:

"John taught, however, that once in this relationship we must be careful not to compromise it by acts that are unfaithful or harmful to the raltionship. We 'abide' in this relationship of love by keeping the commandments." (Ibid.)

Walker said...

I have two blog entries on the subject of personal revelation:

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/09/for-sean-personal-testimony.html

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/11/for-sean-moronis-promise.html

Walker said...

As for Mesoamerica:

"The first is that the geographic correlation in Sorenson's work suggests that the land of the Jaredites corresponds to an area within the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Book of Mormon tells us that in this location we should find a major civilization with advanced architecture and political structures and that we should find them by at least 1200 bc. The Book of Mormon tells us where to look and what to look for.

The second important bit of information withheld from us is that the Isthmian region is the location of what has been called the mother civilization of Mesoamerica, a civilization present in that area since at least 1200 bc (and earlier). The culture has been given the name Olmec (what they called themselves is unknown). The Olmec undertook massive building projects and developed an artistic style that influenced Mesoamerican art for centuries. In the Mesoamerican region, which would have been their whole world, they were clearly the greatest of nations.

While it would not be accurate to equate the Jaredites with the Olmec, it is certainly plausible that the Jaredites participated in that culture. The Book of Mormon predicted an ancient high civilization in a certain location and time. Archaeology has found one that fits the geographical, architectural, and temporal description of the Book of Mormon." (Brant Gardner, Ph.D., Mesoamerican Ethnohistory, "Behind the Mask, Behind the Curtain: Uncovering the Illusion," FARMS Review: Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2005)

Walker said...

As for Joseph Smith and Central America, see here: http://mormontimes.com/studies_doctrine/doctrine_discussion/?id=11448

JediMormon said...

Adrian…your questions are fair ones, and I will endeavor to answer them. Some of this comes from personal experience, as not all have the exact same experience.

Adrian: Ok here's a quick but crucial question for the LDS. For the most part it seems that when pressed for evidence in regards to your scripture you default to the answer that the Holy Spirit has given you a witness that says that your scripture is true. Fair enough. You will also disagree with non-Mormons who say that God has confirmed some different truth that contradicts LDS doctrine.
Jedi: If someone tells me that they have had an answer from God that contradicts LDS belief or doctrine, I usually don’t argue with them. I respect their right to believe what they want. The only exception is when someone tells me that God has witnessed to them that the Book of Mormon is not true. That’s when I like to question them in depth. I ask them if they have actually read the Book of Mormon, cover-to-cover, and if they then prayed to know if it was true. What I have found, after years of conversations with non-LDS, is that none of those who claimed a witness from God about the Book of Mormon being false, had actually read the book and applied Moroni’s promise. The most common answer to my inquiry as to why they hadn’t followed the steps in Moroni’s promise was something to the effect that “I went to the Bible and God revealed a scripture to me that convinced me the Book of Mormon was not true.” No reading from the Book of Mormon or praying about it was involved. A small minority did read a little of the Book of Mormon, but didn't pray about it, yet claimed an answer from God.

Adrian: How do you know that it is the Holy Spirit talking to you and not something or someone else speaking to you? As the Bible says, there is someone out there who we call the Devil who masquerades as an angel of light who seeks to destroy and is the father of lies.
Jedi: A fair question. Brigham Young once said something to the effect that—and I’m paraphrasing here, “The most common error that good people make is mistaking feeling good about something as a witness from the Holy Spirit”. I can tell you from personal experience that a witness from the Holy Ghost (who satan is not allowed to represent himself as)comes in such a way that there is absolutely no doubt in your heart and mind who the witness is originating from. The closest I can come to describing it is that it’s like being bathed from within by an intense spiritual light. Some have tried to trivialize a witness from the Holy Ghost by claiming that what LDS say is a witness from the Holy Ghost, is actually nothing more than a strong feeling. My reply to them is that comparing a witness from the Holy Ghost to a feeling is like comparing an ocean to a backyard swimming pool. In other words, there is no comparison.

Adrian: Also, the nature of the prayer challenge that supposedly Moroni gave opens a door to all kinds of psychological problems because it only allows for two possible outcomes. Either God says yes or nothing happens.
Jedi: That’s a new one. I’ve never heard the belief that it would cause psychological problems, as I’ve also never heard of anyone suffering such effects from applying the promise. And, that’s what it is—a promise from God. If you read the Book of Mormon, then pray sincerely to know if it is true, “God will reveal the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Such a simple promise that so many, for some reason, are unwilling to put to the test.

JediMormon said...

More questions answered...

Adrian: So when you do feel something, that "burning in the bosom" it is already decided that it must be God. This is a problem because within yourself you may very well be giving yourself your own confirmation in the forms of the placebo effect, hind-sight bias, etc. which has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.
Jedi: placebo effect, hind-sight bias, etc. only goes so far. None of them can come even remotely close to duplicating a witness from the Holy Ghost. If you had ever had the experience of a witness from the Holy Ghost, you would understand what I mean.

Adrian: Besides, how can you insist on being right via this experience when someone like a JW will literally die in the Holocaust asserting that what the Watchtower Society says is the only truth.
Jedi: More power to them. I respect anyone’s right to worship and believe as they want, and even die for their beliefs, if they so choose. That does not make it an accurate belief, however.

Adrian: How do you decide who is telling the truth?
Jedi: As far as for knowing if the Book of Mormon is true or not, that’s easy. Take the question directly to God and get His answer on it. Actually, when you think about it, Moroni’s promise is unique, because it is very specific and centers on just one thing: is the Book of Mormon true or not. Those who honestly apply the promise will find out that it is.

Mike said...

Here are some quotes by Dr. Sorenson and Dr. Dee Green about BoM archaeology, Dr. Sorenson:

"Few of the writings they have produced are of genuine consequence in archaeological terms. Some are clearly on the odd-ball fringe; others have credible qualifications. Two of the most prolific are Professor Hugh Nibley and Milton R. Hunter; however they are not qualified to handle the archaeological materials their works often involve." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1966, pp.145-146)

"In situations where sources of religious and secular authority conflict with each other, a Latter-day Saint sometimes finds himself in a quandary. He has been assured by folklore transmitted in lessons, talks and church literature that archaeologists (usually gentile) are steadily proving the Book of Mormon authentic while through his formal education he has become aware in actuality the experts seem to contradict the scripture." (Dialogue, Summer 1969 p.81)

"As long as Mormons are willing to be fooled by (and pay for) the uninformed, uncritical dribble about archaeology and the scriptures which predominates, the few LDS experts are reluctant even to be identified with the topic." (Dialogue, Spring 1966, p. 149)


Dr. Green:

"There have been no spectacular finds, no Zarahemlas discovered, no gold plates brought to light, no horses uncovered, and King Benjamin's tomb remains unexcavated...

The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half truths, dilettanti on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that book of Mormon archaeology really exists. If one is to study Book of Mormon archaeology then one must have a corpus of data with which to deal. We do not. The Book of Mormon is really there so one can have Book of Mormon studies, and archaeology is really there so one can study archaeology, but the two are not wed. At least they are not wed in reality since no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful (nor any other location for that matter) were or are. It would seem then that a concentration on geography should be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty handed." (Dialogue, Summer 1969, pp. 77-78)

Mike said...

From Dr. Ray Matheny, professor at BYU in anthropology and history:

"Ship-building and sailing, use of magnetic compass, overseas navigation, wheeled vehicles drawn by horses, tent manufacture, linen manufacture, many agricultural products from the Old World, wheat and barley, vineyards and wine presses, domestic animals from the Old World, glass manufacture, and so forth. All these paint a scene that seems to be quite foreign to what I am familiar with in the archaeological record of the New World. People have continually dragged up esoteric examples of many of these things...An esoteric thing found in a society or in an archaeological context has little meaning to us...Many Mormon scholars have tried to put these esoteric things together and thread together a story that would support the Book of Mormon. In general the archaeologist does not do this. He does not try to weave together all these little esoteric pieces of things..." (Sunstone Theological Symposium, Book of Mormon Archaeology: What Does the Evidence Really Show? [Panel Discussion], August 25, 1984)

"If I were doing this cold like John Carlson (a non-Mormon) is here, I would say in evaluating the Book of Mormon that it had no place in the New World whatsoever...lt just doesn't seem to fit anything that he has been taught in his discipliner nor I in my discipline in anthropology, history; there seems to be no place for it. It seems misplaced...lt seem like the items are out of time and place...And I think there is a great difficulty here for we Mormons in understanding what this book is all about. We are all involved in this in one way or another...That's why we're here to discuss it, and this forum provides an opportunity for discussion that's quite different from your Church experience where you cannot bring up...where there's an attempt to reinforce faith all the time, where we cannot bring up these questions." [Panel Discussion], August 25, 1984)

Mike said...

I think the statements of these professors pretty much sums up the conclusion of BoM archaeology - it does not exist. Sorry!

Brett said...

Walker,

Take a look at this video where Graham Hancock talks about the Olmecs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA2IRAVEpCU

A few minutes into the video, he takes the viewer to La Venta which is the oldest site in Mesoamerica. But it dates back to a time before the Lamanites and the Nephites which is why most LDS believe that they were the Jaredites. Graham Hancock says that we don't know what the Olmecs called themselves but there is evidence that they were from Africa (the stone heads) and Europe (bearded caucasians), and came across the sea after a great flood in boat without sails. He says, "They were a high civilization with their own writing that hasn't yet been deciphered. They were a civilization of skywatchers, a civilization of astronomers."

DNA evidence shows that American Indians in both North and South America largely came from Northeast Asia but a small percentage (>1%) of the DNA showed up as coming from Africa and Europe. I would guess that that small percentage comes from the people who came across the sea, known as the Olmecs. I could be wrong on that though because the scientists who did the research say that that small percentage comes from a time after the discovery of American by Columbus.

Bill said...

Bob, are you still censoring comments? A friend of mine tried to write a comment, twice, that was never posted.

Walker said...

Thanks, Brett. Cool stuff.

Anonymous said...

I can see that there are those of you out there who are unwilling or afraid to take my challenge and read Dr. Lund's book. What harm can it do? Is it the $15 price tag? Or is it the content of the material? Many of you seem to have the time to spend searching anti-Mormon web sites and writing post, so I know time isn't the issue. I've been on both sides of many of these issues as a anti-Mormon and now a active Mormon. I promise It won't kill you to push back from the key board and open a book. After all it's only a book.. right?

Madddog

Walker said...

Sorenson is one of the leading anthropologists in Book of Mormon studies and has paved the way with his geographical hypothesis of BoM events. Sorenson's article to a caution to avoid bad scholarship. On top of this, the articles are 40 years old. Green actually makes mention of Sorenson's studies being some of the only worthwhile information on the subject up to that point. He too cautions against pseudoscholarship. But Green's article was also 40 years ago. Both were were believing archeologists and much more has come out since the 60s.

For a more recent take on BoM archaeology, see John E. Clark, "Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/2 (2005).

Walker said...

M,

I just realized that I overlooked a post by you that was directed at me. Allow me to respond.

"Knowing deep down that your religion is false won't necessarily make you an atheist, Walker."

That wasn't really my point. I was just commenting on this whole "You know deep down..." nonsense. Over at CARM, I was told that I was a closet atheist because I rejected what I considered to be presuppositionalist and circular reasoning on my opponent's part. I also agreed with Richard Dawkins on a particular point, so I was branded an atheist. I was told that "deep down, I knew I was an atheist." The wording has changed slightly in this situation, but the thinking (or lack of) is still the same.

"And this is the problem with the church and what it teaches. When a person comes to believe that it is wrong, they think that there is nothing to believe because church teaches that it is the only true church."

No different than teaching that Christianity is the true religion. Many Christians who lose their faith become atheists, while others convert to Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. But like I said, that wasn't really my point.

"You seem to be a true blue Mormon through and through."

I'm glad I come off that way. And I'm glad that you are so respectful in these discussions. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

"First off Thomas Murphy was excommunicated and became an anti-Mormon, something the good people at LHM conveniently leave out of their videos. From what I’ve read about Tom and the Mormon Church this guy has an axe to grind with the church."

It's funny. That's what you all seem to say whenever someone presents facts about the church that don't leave it in a good light. That that person is just bitter. I don't think they are.

Anonymous said...

"If you knew more about Mormonism You’d know that there are two hill Cumorah’s,
one hill Cumorah in New York where the plates making up the BOM were buried, and the other Rama Cumorah in Mexico where many of the BOM battles were fought. Joseph Smith is quite clear on this as Dr. Lund points out in his book."

No Maddog, there was only one hill Cumorah and that is in New York. If you did some research you would know that early in JS's writings he spelled the hill as 'Comorah' which is very similar to the spelling of the 'Comoros' Islands whose capital happens to be Moroni. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Mike, good find on the professors statements!

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

From Sidney B. Sperry, published on the FARMS website:

"Would a party travel, for example, three thousand miles in order to find a place they knew could not be over three hundred miles away? Notice the story of the return of Limhi's people from Shilom to Zarahemla (Mosiah 22:11—13). Even though they traveled "many days," they ended up in Zarahemla, undoubtedly located in Middle America. Observe also the fact that the elder Alma's branch of Limhi's people arrived in Zarahemla after twelve days' journey (Mosiah 24:25) from the valley of Alma, a place we assume was some distance from Lehi-Nephi (it was eight days from the waters of Mormon to the land of Helam—Mosiah 23:3, and a one-day flight from there to the valley of Alma—Mosiah 24:20). Zarahemla, in all probability, was not more than three hundred miles from Lehi-Nephi.

Those of the one-Cumorah (New York) persuasion may with some logic argue that Mosiah 8:8—11 does not specifically say that the forty-three men of Limhi found the last battlefields of the Jaredites, and that the passage does not disprove the possibility that the prophet Ether could have brought his records from the region of Ramah in New York to Central America, where they could be found. But such arguments seem somewhat forced, and especially so when it is pointed out that the people of Zarahemla, the Mulekites, found Coriantumr, the last ruler of the Jaredites (Omni 1:21). Moreover, he "dwelt with them for the space of nine moons." Just how reasonable is it to believe that he departed from a Ramah in New York after his last great battle and wandered three thousand miles south into Middle America, where he was found? Isn't it more likely that the finding of Coriantumr fits better into the overall pattern presented by the book of Mosiah and the chapters cited above in the book of Ether? Coriantumr apparently wandered a few hundred miles southward from Ramah (Cumorah) in Middle America to, or around, the land of Zarahemla, where he was found. Isn't such a view the more reasonable one to believe? In fact, all the Book of Mormon evidence points to the same general conclusion, that Ramah-Cumorah was somewhere in or near Middle America."

Note too, Joseph Smith said Zarahemla was in Central America, 1 Oct 1842 Times and Seasons:

"Central America, or Guatimala [Guatemala], is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south.-The city of Zarahemla, burnt at the crucifixion of the Savior, and rebuilt afterwards, stood upon this land"

The "Hill Cumorah" was so named not by Joseph Smith, but by Oliver Cowdery or WW Phelps. It is easy to understand why, when you consider the knew plates came from there, just like the BoM talked about for the large collection of plates.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,


“No Maddog, there was only one hill Cumorah and that is in New York. If you did some research you would know that early in JS's writings he spelled the hill as 'Comorah' which is very similar to the spelling of the 'Comoros' Islands whose capital happens to be Moroni. Coincidence? I don't think so.”

Anonymous, I’m surprised you didn’t do any research about the hill Cumorah? I typed in Ramah Cummorah on the web and it literally took seconds to find these two links. What’s up, is your keyboard plugged in?
http://www.fairblog.org/2008/02/12/the-two-cumorah-theory%E2%80%9D/
http://www.ancientcumorah.com/


Also, I want to add a few quotes from Joseph Smith about Mesoamerica.

“Central America or Guatemala [sic] situated north of the Isthmus of Darien [Panama] …. The city of Zarahelma… stood upon this land.”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:927

“…these wonderful ruins of Palenque are among the mighty works of the Nephites”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:914

…Quirigua… the ruins of the city in question,… [is] one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon.”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:927

Lehi landed “…a little south of the Isthmus of Darien”
TPJS p. 267

Maddog

David said...

Walker,

You missed the more recent (1984) statements by Dr. Ray Matheny (BoM "archaeology" hasn't changed much since then either):


From Dr. Ray Matheny, professor at BYU in anthropology and history:

"Ship-building and sailing, use of magnetic compass, overseas navigation, wheeled vehicles drawn by horses, tent manufacture, linen manufacture, many agricultural products from the Old World, wheat and barley, vineyards and wine presses, domestic animals from the Old World, glass manufacture, and so forth. All these paint a scene that seems to be quite foreign to what I am familiar with in the archaeological record of the New World. People have continually dragged up esoteric examples of many of these things...An esoteric thing found in a society or in an archaeological context has little meaning to us...Many Mormon scholars have tried to put these esoteric things together and thread together a story that would support the Book of Mormon. In general the archaeologist does not do this. He does not try to weave together all these little esoteric pieces of things..." (Sunstone Theological Symposium, Book of Mormon Archaeology: What Does the Evidence Really Show? [Panel Discussion], August 25, 1984)

"If I were doing this cold like John Carlson (a non-Mormon) is here, I would say in evaluating the Book of Mormon that it had no place in the New World whatsoever...lt just doesn't seem to fit anything that he has been taught in his discipliner nor I in my discipline in anthropology, history; there seems to be no place for it. It seems misplaced...lt seem like the items are out of time and place...And I think there is a great difficulty here for we Mormons in understanding what this book is all about. We are all involved in this in one way or another...That's why we're here to discuss it, and this forum provides an opportunity for discussion that's quite different from your Church experience where you cannot bring up...where there's an attempt to reinforce faith all the time, where we cannot bring up these questions." [Panel Discussion], August 25, 1984

Walker said...

A good book on the subject is David A. Palmer's "In Search of Cumorah."

Anonymous said...

You seem to be missing the point here with your "sources":

“Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, is This The Place?”

"In Search of Cumorah."

Is this the place? In search of ... these phrases all point to the fact that no one knows definitely where these places are or where the events happened (unlike biblical places and events). The reason for this is simple common sense. The places don't exist and the events in the BoM didn't happen.


The only problem with the quotes below, especially the one about Palenque, is that there is no way they can correct. The timing is off.

“Central America or Guatemala [sic] situated north of the Isthmus of Darien [Panama] …. The city of Zarahelma… stood upon this land.”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:927

“…these wonderful ruins of Palenque are among the mighty works of the Nephites”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:914

…Quirigua… the ruins of the city in question,… [is] one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon.”
Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:927

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous,

You are changing the discussion, in my opinion because it is obvious that your position that the Church always taught Cumorah was in New York is indefensible.

Before we go into time frames, can you at least admit that Joseph Smith and the early Church DID NOT insist that Cumorah was in the Palmyra area?

This kind of shifting of topic is not unique to Anonymous or anti-Mormons in general. Most people have a hard time biting the humility bullet and acknowledging the weakness of their own position, regardless of evidence. My experience is most critics of the LDS faith have an underlying "irrational" testimony of their conclusions, so peeling away erroneous "facts" is unimportant to their thesis.

For the record, I say irrational in the technical sense as something they have not reasoned out. They may have their "reasons" for their position, but like everyone, once you arrive at a position and become vested in it, it doesn't matter what the evidence is to the contrary. You have weighed it out in some mental calculus, and the result is no matter what, your conclusion is correct.

Now, this is the position of any person of faith. As a Mormon, I freely acknowledge that my ultimate "proof" of my faith is entirely subjective, as in it cannot be objectively obtained. I also strive, as far as I can, to maintain a "rational faith" to the degree possible, and that is the purpose of this website. I find the "rational" arguments offered by critics to be highly biased, partial and unbalanced. But, I will admit, to no small degree that is because of the witness I personally have received which admonishes me to approach things with faith.

And this is the real irony of the conversation. I find critics have a testimony of anti-Mormonism as being true. Demonstrating the deceptive nature and statements by critics such as the Tanners or McKeever or Decker doesn't change their "belief" that Mormon prophets and Mormonism are false. They apply an unbalanced standard to the evidence to insulate their fundamental beliefs away from their rational critical evaluation of Mormonism.

Some critic recently stated their beliefs were, in so many words, entirely based on proof. So very, very sad, for such an one is absolutely headed to rational atheism, since there is no "proof" which can substantiate the existence of God by objective measure.

Long way to go to point out Anonymous is changing his premise, and attacking the responses to his original assertions with a non sequitur.
Anonymous' Question: Did not Joseph Smith always teach Cumorah was in New York?
Anonymous' Answer: The Central American ruins are too late for BoM times.

Non sequitur, and in this line argumentation it will be impossible to ever satisfy Anonymous' opposition, since he doesn't seem to be able to separate his positions into segregated lines of reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Changing the discussion? Huh? You are getting your Anons mixed.

Mike said...

"Before we go into time frames, can you at least admit that Joseph Smith and the early Church DID NOT insist that Cumorah was in the Palmyra area?"

They did maintain that though. It is what JS said. There is nothing in his writings (and I'm including the mormon "scriptures" in JS's writings because he did write them) that specifically talks about the Hill Cumorah in Mesoamerica, let alone any mention of two hills. They also maintained that these civilizations expanded all through the north and the south, east and west, filling up both continents. It has only been fairly recently that the spin doctors have come up with the Limited Geography Theory. This is because it has been shown !) that the DNA evidence does not support the earlier claims and 2) from the time the Nephites died to the present, there simply isn't enough time for all facets of their civilization to be wiped out and that includes any documentary trail, any trace of their artifacts, weapons, or skeletons, any trace of the Hebrew language being spoken or written, and any trace of their DNA showing up. This is also why they just recently changed the BoM to say that the Lamanites are "among" the ancestors of the Native Americans, instead of that they are the "primary" ancestors. You can argue until you're blue in the face but it's not going to change the facts.

JD said...

You know Bob, this is exactly the way I would describe you:

"For the record, I say irrational in the technical sense as something they have not reasoned out. They may have their "reasons" for their position, but like everyone, once you arrive at a position and become vested in it, it doesn't matter what the evidence is to the contrary. You have weighed it out in some mental calculus, and the result is no matter what, your conclusion is correct."


From what I see, your analysis of non mormons is more a description of you than of them. I think, in psychology, it's called self projection.

Walker said...

"You missed the more recent (1984) statements by Dr. Ray Matheny (BoM "archaeology" hasn't changed much since then either)"

1. Shall I assume then that you admit your other sources were not only dated, but used improperly?

2. Matheny seems to be playing devil's advocate (i.e. "If I were doing this cold like John Carlson (a non-Mormon) is here..."). I admit that I could be incorrect. I am not familiar enough with Matheny's opinions on the Book of Mormon. I will keep my eye out for more of his writings on the subject.

3. Even if Matheny did hold these opinions personally, I provided a 2005 article that discusses archaeology and the Book of Mormon. Dr. Clark (the author) is a Professor of Anthropology who works and publications largely deal with Mesoamerica. Feel free to review his research (or continue appealing to authority).

Walker said...

"In search of ... these phrases all point to the fact that no one knows definitely where these places are or where the events happened (unlike biblical places and events)."

Evidence and absolute proof are not synonymous. The sooner you learn that the sooner you will begin to actually understand the sciences and scholarship. As for biblical events, there is no direct evidence for the Exodus, which is one of the biggest and most important events in the biblical texts and Jewish/Christian theology. The resurrection of Christ is based largely on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of eyewitnesses (interestingly enough, much like the gold plates). Be careful with your declarations of archeological evidence favoring the Bible.

Walker said...

A good overview of the Mesoamerican theory is John L. Sorenson's article "The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerican Record" in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited.

Christine said...

Here you all, I found something on the two Cumorahs:

Title: Were There Two Cumorahs?
Author: Sidney B. Sperry
url:
http://mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=4&num=1&id=98
Abstract:
No one doubts that the hill where Joseph Smith received the plates is known as Cumorah, but is the hill where the final battles between the Nephites and Lamanites took place another Cumorah? The book of Ether tells us that Omer traveled to this place of the last battles of the Nephites, and that the relatively short duration of this journey would not account for the three thousand miles from Middle America to New York. A similar journey was undertaken by Limhi's men, of equally short duration. The description of the geographical features around the final battle site is also at odds with the topography of present-day Cumorah.

Walker said...

Sorenson also recently published a non-LDS article linking Mesoamerica and the Ancient Near East:

John L. Sorenson, “A Complex of Ritual and Ideology Shared by Mesoamerica and the Ancient Near East” Sino-Platonic Papers, 195 (December 2009)

Walker said...

"it is a compilation of writings that forms a consistent narrative and theology"

No, it is not. The Deuteronomist reforms saw to that.

Anonymous said...

"Shall I assume then that you admit your other sources were not only dated, but used improperly?"

No, I don't think so, Walker. I think he was pointing out that what was true about BoM "archaeology" 40 years ago was still true 20 years later and is still true today. Starting with a conclusion and then searching for evidence is not true science, and therefore cannot be true archaeology. What the LDS "scholars" do is that they start out with a view of something (namely the story of the BoM) and try to find bits and pieces to string together as proof for their worldview. It is very sad given that all the evidence found by real archaeologists suggests that the BoM story is fictional. I feel sorry for Mormons. They are trying to defend something that is impossible to defend.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

JD,
Dude, read my posts all the way through before banging things out on the keyboard. I agree with you.

I freely admit that my faith is undoubtedly irrational. In fact, it is flat out silliness from the perspective of the world.

The contrast I was reaching for is that while I believe a spiritually based testimony is perfectly valid, and is necessarily irrational and subjective, critics of the LDS faith like to represent their Biblical beliefs are completely rational, fact based and does not require blind faith. That is not "faith", it is a self-delusion. No one can know the things of God except through the Spirit of God. Which is not "objective".

The implication of psychological "projection" is unawareness of my own state. I think I was pretty clear in noting real faith, my faith, is rightly irrational. I truly don't care what the presentation of "facts" by critics appear to be.

Completely aside from the fact of my experience, (which is that the presentation by critics similar to Anonymous' presentation of supposed contradictions around the location of Cumorah is baseless upon closer scrutiny, is really a false hypothesis), the critics are fundamentally self-deluded, not spiritually inspired, and thus there is a difference in the nature of the irrationalism of Critics and myself.

Critics like to say 'this or that proves the Church is false'. Upon confrontation and with abandonment of those "facts" they fall back to their underlying axiom, 'Mormonism is false', based on their irrational faith that they have discerned the truth about Mormonism without the revelation of the Spirit.

Thus they claim the results of a spiritual revelation while denying the power of the Spirit to actually make such a revelation in today's world. This is a very different type of irrationalism from the position outlined by Mormons who acknowledge the 'irrational' revelation of the Spirit as the only way to know the Truth of God.

Adrian said...

Just to clarify from my previous statement about psychological problems inherent in Moroni's challenge, I did not mean that participation would lead to some form of damage to the psyche. What I was poorly attempting to communicate was that the challenge appears to be rigged. It leaves only two options: either it is the Holy Spirit or nothing. Also Jedi, you'd be surprised at the power of suggestion and the placebo effect. They are strong enough to even formulate false memories of sexual assault. Your belief that in some way my experiences with the Holy Spirit in regards to wisdom do not count is mildly insulting. And though I do believe that you have experienced some sort of powerful inner experience it still, if I understand correctly (which may or may not be the case), does not mean that it is in fact from the Holy Spirit. Just look on youtube under headings such as Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, Word of Faith etc. and you will see people who are under the impression that the Holy Spirit is rocking their world and yet what you see them doing appears to be contradictory to what the Holy Spirit reveals about Himself in the Bible.

"This belief is not arbitrary, but grounded in personal experience. In the absence of a good reason to believe the experience was delusional, one is perfectly rational to view God as an objective reality" Walker my friend, the virtual definition of being delusional implies that you don't realize that you are delusional in the first place. This is not to say that I consider all Mormons to be somehow schizophrenic, but you do the very concepts of delusion and misinformation a great disservice. If you think about it, you may realize that misrepresenting those two concepts is incredibly dangerous both to you and to others.

Walker said...

"was still true 20 years later and is still true today"

Well, this would be incorrect.

"Starting with a conclusion and then searching for evidence is not true science"

True and Sorenson warns against this. Having a hypothesis is scientific though.


"It is very sad given that all the evidence found by real archaeologists suggests that the BoM story is fictional."

And all these archaeologists who have "proved" the BoM wrong are all experts in the BoM text too, eh? You need both.

Walker said...

"Walker my friend, the virtual definition of being delusional implies that you don't realize that you are delusional in the first place."

This is why I said unless some good reason is presented to consider the personal experience delusional, there is no reason to accept that it is. Your disbelief hardly counts as a good reason.

Besides, if you have a problem with it, take it up with William Lane Craig. It is his explanation. He certainly agrees that spiritual experiences are the best way to know that Christianity is true.

Walker said...

A brief explanation of the matter can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYc4hmrHthg&feature=PlayList&p=A7D5C03D92C982FC&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3

I personally like how he explained it in his debate with Christopher Hitchens better.

Walker said...

"...contradictory to what the Holy Spirit reveals about Himself in the Bible."

While I agree with your caution, I can't help but see that you are advocating a presuppositional approach to the Bible. How am I to know that Peter, Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, and others were not delusional? How am I to know that Jesus wasn't insane? Am I supposed to just trust their personal experiences?

I find this approach rather odd.

JediMormon said...

Adrian: Just to clarify from my previous statement about psychological problems inherent in Moroni's challenge, I did not mean that participation would lead to some form of damage to the psyche. What I was poorly attempting to communicate was that the challenge appears to be rigged. It leaves only two options: either it is the Holy Spirit or nothing.
Jedi: I can understand how you could see it as rigged. However, doesn’t Moroni’s promise work about the same as any promise from God? Think about it: basically, God says, if you do such-and-such, this will happen, or you will get this blessing, etc. Moroni’s promise follows those lines. IF you read the Book of Mormon, and sincerely pray about it, God WILL reveal the truth of it to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. James 1:5 follows the same pattern: “IF any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,…and it shall be GIVEN him.”

Adrian: Also Jedi, you'd be surprised at the power of suggestion and the placebo effect. They are strong enough to even formulate false memories of sexual assault.
Jedi: Okay, I don’t pretend to be an expert matters of what the mind is capable of conjuring up. However, I would strongly suspect that false memories of sexual assault, or other such imaginings, don’t just suddenly and powerfully come to the surface. I have read somewhat of repressed memory syndrome. A person can imagine that something has happened to them earlier in their life, and then mull it over until, after a time, they become convinced that the event really happened. I don’t doubt that. However, that is almost an exact opposite of what happens when the Holy Ghost witnesses the truth of the Book of Mormon to a person. The witness comes very suddenly and very powerfully. So powerfully, that the person knows, without the slightest shadow of doubt, that it is God (through the Holy Ghost) who has just witnessed to them.

Adrian: Your belief that in some way my experiences with the Holy Spirit in regards to wisdom do not count is mildly insulting.
Jedi: My sincere apologies if I came off sounding that way. I try to never belittle another’s beliefs. Unfortunately, the reverse is not true of some who I have had occasion to discuss my beliefs with (I don’t count you in that number, by the way. You have always been courteous and respectful.)

Adrian: And though I do believe that you have experienced some sort of powerful inner experience it still, if I understand correctly (which may or may not be the case), does not mean that it is in fact from the Holy Spirit.
Jedi: That’s true. The difference here is that a witness from the Holy Ghost is so far and above whatever other powerful inner experience the person may have had, or perhaps may yet experience in their life, that as I’ve said before, it’s like comparing a backyard swimming pool with the ocean. When it happens, you’ll never forget it for the rest of your life.

Adrian: Just look on youtube under headings such as Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, Word of Faith etc. and you will see people who are under the impression that the Holy Spirit is rocking their world and yet what you see them doing appears to be contradictory to what the Holy Spirit reveals about Himself in the Bible.
Jedi: Don’t get me started on that Benny Hinn dude, lol. Personally, I think that there are many ministers, preachers, etc out there who are doing a lot of good for a lot of people. In my opinion, however, Hinn isn’t one of them. I heard him admit on cable tv one time that he uses hypnotic techniques during his revivals to lay people out on the stage. A little music, soft words, a wave of the hand, and down they go in a dead faint. He uses music to get people emotional and worked up so that they think they’re being indwelled by the Holy Spirit. For that matter, I’ve seen people get just as worked up and act basically the same at a football game or some other sporting event. Or even a rock concert.

Anonymous said...

""was still true 20 years later and is still true today"

Well, this would be incorrect."

On the contrary it is correct. You can believe in what the spin doctors say but it doesn't change the fact that what they do is not true scientific research.



""Starting with a conclusion and then searching for evidence is not true science"

True and Sorenson warns against this. Having a hypothesis is scientific though."

Here is the definition of a hypothesis:
A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

A hypothesis is not “knowledge obtained by a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost.” Or in your own words (from your blog):

“In regards to my own testimony, I echo the words of Alma once more: "Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." (Alma 5:45-46) It is not merely because I've had spiritual experiences that I am Mormon. It is because I have had spiritual experiences specifically about the Book of Mormon. It is because of these revelations that I associate myself with the church that embraces it as scripture.”

This is what the LDS spin doctors start with and it’s not a hypothesis. To them, it is already a foregone conclusion, revealed to them by the Holy Ghost, for which they seek evidence to support it. It is not true science. I'm sorry Walker, but it's not.



""It is very sad given that all the evidence found by real archaeologists suggests that the BoM story is fictional."

And all these archaeologists who have "proved" the BoM wrong are all experts in the BoM text too, eh? You need both."

No, you don't. The scientists who carried out DNA research on the American Indians knew nothing of the BoM and their evidence has pretty much shown that there was never a migration of Israelites to America in ancient times. Likewise, those who study Archaeology in the Americas, need to know nothing about the BoM to show that there was no metallurgy in those days, that there were no horses, that there were no elephants, that there are no remains of soldiers with chariots and metal swords and armor, that there were no coins, that there was no wheat and barley, etc., etc. I could go on for days on the subject.

Anonymous said...

“An excellent analogy in my opinion. Maintaining this relationship is the key. I remind you that divorce often is the result of a party failing to "abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship." Just because someone gets married doesn't mean they will automatically remain married.”

When you are married to Christ, it does.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing is more SOLID that a witness from God through the Holy Ghost. For some reason, ya'll seem to keep dodging around this issue. I would submit, that because of this witness, Mormons have the most solid foundation of all."

Jedi, if this is true then why are the spin doctors at FARMS and FAIR trying to so hard to find scientific evidence to prove that the BoM is true?

Walker said...

"When you are married to Christ, it does."

Well, that settles it. Anonymous says so.

"...the spin doctors..."

Anonymous has labeled them spin doctors. Therefore, it must be so.

"This is what the LDS spin doctors start with and it’s not a hypothesis."

"This is what the LDS spin doctors start with and it’s not a hypothesis."

This assumes that the conclusion of their research is "the BoM is true." This is not the case. It is most often in regards to specific aspects. Ex. Geographical clues in the BoM point to Mesoamerica based on Sorenson's research. Or metal plates was a type of record keeping the Middle East.

"No, you don't."

Yes, you would. You would need to know the specifics of the texts in order to make a conclusion about it.

"I could go on for days on the subject."

And I could provide articles for just about everything you said. But I'm sure you're not interested, especially if they are by "spin doctors."

Walker said...

"...spin doctors at FARMS and FAIR..."

We'll just ignore that the majority of these "spin doctors" are professors and scholars in these departments. But they are Mormon, so they don't count.

Walker said...

"...spin doctors at FARMS and FAIR..."

Anyone who dismisses arguments based on such inflammatory labels is hardly worth the time.

David said...

"“An excellent analogy in my opinion. Maintaining this relationship is the key. I remind you that divorce often is the result of a party failing to "abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship." Just because someone gets married doesn't mean they will automatically remain married.”

When you are married to Christ, it does."

Amen Brother!

Anonymous said...

"“An excellent analogy in my opinion. Maintaining this relationship is the key. I remind you that divorce often is the result of a party failing to "abide by the mutual agreements of that relationship." Just because someone gets married doesn't mean they will automatically remain married.”

When you are married to Christ, it does."

This is absolutely correct. Walker, you have no idea who Christ really is.

M said...

"We'll just ignore that the majority of these "spin doctors" are professors and scholars in these departments. But they are Mormon, so they don't count."

Walker, the reason I think that people are suspicious of work done by Mormon scholars is because they think that their work may be bias due to their religious beliefs. This is not unreasonable in my opinion. However, the same can be said of scholars from any religious group. Our lives and experiences cannot be anything but subjective, in anything we do.

Walker said...

"Walker, you have no idea who Christ really is."

Well, this is certainly convincing.

I love how the cultural context of faith, grace, and covenant is completely ignored.

JediMormon said...

Anonymous said: "Walker, you have no idea who Christ really is."

Jedi responds: I was wondering when those kinds of comments would begin. Sooner or later, every anti-Mormon I've had discussions with (and they run in the hundreds), has resorted to dissing my personal beliefs (or, in this case, Walker's). It's like they're thinking, if I don't convince this guy, my salvation is at stake. Now, I know that is not the case, and so do they. But they continue to act like it. IMHO, anti-Mormons are in bigger need of a chill pill than any religious group in history. As for Walker's relationship with Christ, or mine, or any other Mormon, isn't that really between them and Christ?

Walker said...

"This is not unreasonable in my opinion. However, the same can be said of scholars from any religious group."

Being skeptical is healthy. Straight up dismissing it because they are of a particular religious affiliation is bigotry. I certainly hope it is the former.

How seriously should you take me if I start labeling everything that comes out of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly or the Evangelical Theological Society as spin? Or everything that comes out of Fox News or CNN? Or everything that comes from the Intelligent Design advocates or Darwinists? Or everything that comes from the global warming skeptics or proponents? How seriously should I be taken if that is the extent of my argument and the basis of my dismissal? Allow me to answer that: I shouldn't be. Therefore, I do not take seriously anyone who thinks such a pathetic excuse for a refutation is acceptable until an actual argument is made. When individuals such as this get around to growing up (i.e. actually debating) instead of attempting to pass off their arrogant, pseudo-intellectual remarks as worthwhile, then I will gladly continue in the conversation.

Christine said...

""This is not unreasonable in my opinion. However, the same can be said of scholars from any religious group."

Being skeptical is healthy. Straight up dismissing it because they are of a particular religious affiliation is bigotry. I certainly hope it is the former."

The only problem with this argument is that FARMS and FAIR were specifically made and designed to defend the Mormon faith so the skeptics suspicions, or should I say, their dismissal of it being true science, is justified. You cannot say that a Mormon scholar who is working for FARMS is doing the same kind of work as a Christian or a Jew doing scientific research on something that is totally unrelated to their religious faith. In that case, the Christian's or Jew's scientific research is pure whereas, the Mormon's is not because it is specifically related to their faith - designed to protect it. You even said it yourself in this comment stream:

"And all these archaeologists who have "proved" the BoM wrong are all experts in the BoM text too, eh? You need both."

And then Anon responded:

"No, you don't. The scientists who carried out DNA research on the American Indians knew nothing of the BoM and their evidence has pretty much shown that there was never a migration of Israelites to America in ancient times. Likewise, those who study Archaeology in the Americas, need to know nothing about the BoM to show that there was no metallurgy in those days, that there were no horses, that there were no elephants, that there are no remains of soldiers with chariots and metal swords and armor, that there were no coins, that there was no wheat and barley, etc., etc. I could go on for days on the subject."

And your response to that was:

"Yes, you would. You would need to know the specifics of the texts in order to make a conclusion about it."

The reason why the work done by Mormon scholars at FARMS and FAIR cannot be counted as true science has to do with this very issue. Their work and their beliefs are married to each other. I'm really sorry, Walker, I know you get upset about it (and it is not my intention to upset you) but it's the truth.

Mike said...

"The only problem with this argument is that FARMS and FAIR were specifically made and designed to defend the Mormon faith so the skeptics suspicions, or should I say, their dismissal of it being true science, is justified. You cannot say that a Mormon scholar who is working for FARMS is doing the same kind of work as a Christian or a Jew doing scientific research on something that is totally unrelated to their religious faith. In that case, the Christian's or Jew's scientific research is pure whereas, the Mormon's is not because it is specifically related to their faith - designed to protect it. You even said it yourself in this comment stream:

"And all these archaeologists who have "proved" the BoM wrong are all experts in the BoM text too, eh? You need both.""


Anon's comment here is correct. The reason you can't have 'both' is because that would mean that someone is starting out with the conclusion already in mind - either to prove or disprove a religious document. That's not true science.

Walker said...

"The only problem with this argument is that FARMS and FAIR were specifically made and designed to defend the Mormon faith"

Because of attacks from people like the Tanners and Walter Martin. Defending yourself against attacks is hardly wrong. Be skeptical by all means. But to just up and dismiss it because it is Mormon is ludicrous.

"a Mormon scholar who is working for FARMS is doing the same kind of work as a Christian or a Jew doing scientific research on something that is totally unrelated to their religious faith"

Obviously not when they are writing a FARMS article, anymore then a Christian scientist writing in a theological journal about his discoveries (or Christians trying to get their theology passed off as science i.e. Intelligent Design). But the majority of those writing in FARMS are professors and scholars within specific fields that write about their field in regards to Mormon theology.

"In that case, the Christian's or Jew's scientific research is pure..."

I see. All Jews and Christians are unbiased, just not Mormons. Most of those that write for FARMS are professors in specific fields and write for other journals that pertain to their field.

If a Jewish archaeologist suddenly found evidence that was in favor of the Exodus and he wrote about it in a Jewish theological journal, is he unbiased?

"Their work and their beliefs are married to each other."

Please don't tell me you think that FARMS is their employer.

"I'm really sorry, Walker, I know you get upset about it (and it is not my intention to upset you) but it's the truth."

Of course there is bias. True objectivity is a myth. Everyone has biases. But to dismiss the research done solely because they are Mormon is religious bigotry and nothing else.

I'm not going to read the Catholic Quarterly because they are Catholic. They'll be biased towards their beliefs. I'm not going to listen to anything that comes out of the Evangelical Theological Society because they'll be biased towards Evangelicalism. I'm not going to watch Fox news because they'll be biased towards Republicans. I'm not going to listen to evolutionary biologists because they are biased towards Darwinism. I shouldn't listen to Christine or Anonymous because they are biased against the LDS Church.

Great reasoning. Simply calling them biased and spin doctors is not a refutation. It is a poor attempt to relieve yourself of the responsibility of actually reading and dealing with the research, something no one here has done.

Walker said...

I find this attack on the scholars themselves to be an excuse to ignore the actual research. Talk about the research. Otherwise, this is a waste of time.

Walker said...

Example of FARMS research (though I think it was originally printed in a different journal): William Hamblin has written on "reformed Egyptian" and "gold plates." His research points to various examples of Egyptian characters with Semitic undertones. He points to the archaeological discoveries of writing on metal plates in the Near East. This is what his research consists of.

As a Mormon, he makes the interesting connection to Joseph Smith's claims of a Semitic people coming to the Americas, keeping their records on metal plates in 'reformed Egyptian' (a claim that was and still is ridiculed today). Joseph Smith at least got the concept of metal plates and Egyptian/Semitic languages correct.

Now you may not agree with his second observation, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with his research surrounding Eastern metal plates and Egyptian/Semitic language mixtures. This is the research that must be dealt with in logical connection with LDS claims.

It is much easier to say, "Well, Hamblin is Mormon, so he is a spin doctor and is biased" then to actually deal with what he has done.

Walker said...

"that someone is starting out with the conclusion already in mind"

Not necessarily. One can use the text with the hypothetical, "This is the book's clues on geography. If this was a true location, there should be an area that fits these geographical descriptions." Following the clues of a text to see if it has any support in reality is hardly unscientific, especially if the text is claiming to be a true account.

Christine said...

"Because of attacks from people like the Tanners and Walter Martin. Defending yourself against attacks is hardly wrong. Be skeptical by all means. But to just up and dismiss it because it is Mormon is ludicrous."

Walker, I think you misunderstood the point. They aren't dismissing it because it is Mormon. They are dismissing it because it isn't true science. Defending yourself against attacks isn't wrong, you're right, but you still can't call what they do true science.


"Obviously not when they are writing a FARMS article, anymore then a Christian scientist writing in a theological journal about his discoveries (or Christians trying to get their theology passed off as science i.e. Intelligent Design)."

This is a good point but it is unrelated to the original argument. You were arguing about the evidence that shows the BoM isn't true. The commenters made the point that the scientists who did this research had nothing to do with any religious group at all or, if they were of a particular religion (i.e. Simon Southerton), their work was not set out to prove or disprove a religious claim. It was just something they stumbled across. Most scientific breakthroughs are like that - something that they come across by accident.


"I see. All Jews and Christians are unbiased, just not Mormons. Most of those that write for FARMS are professors in specific fields and write for other journals that pertain to their field."

Walker, I'm sorry, maybe I didn't explain this very well. The Jew and the Christian were examples. Let's take another example - a Mormon who is doing scientific research on something that is totally unrelated to their beliefs and has nothing to do with proving or disproving them. Then that Mormon's research would be true. The FARMS scholars who are doing work to specifically defend the faith are not doing true science. That was the point.


"If a Jewish archaeologist suddenly found evidence that was in favor of the Exodus and he wrote about it in a Jewish theological journal, is he unbiased?"

No, he isn't. Naturally I would be suspicious of that too unless there were other scientists, who were not of a particular religion, saying the same thing. And as for the evidence against the BoM that was mentioned before, that is the case. Furthermore, there is a lot of work done by Mormon scholars that secular scholars would be ashamed to be associated with.


"But to dismiss the research done solely because they are Mormon is religious bigotry and nothing else."

This is not what they are doing. Again, they are dismissing it because it isn't true science.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

The conversation of when to accept expert opinion is interesting, largely because of the over-confidence of the LDS-critics in stating their distrust of LDS scholarship.

The single most respected anti-Mormon work of the past 100 years is easily agreed to be "The New Mormon Challenge". That work has articles by a dozen of the most respected non-LDS Christian scholars, headed by Francis Beckwith, later president of the Evangelical Theological Society.

How did FARMS react to the best ever academic response to LDS beliefs? They invited the authors to engage in a point-counter point in the FARMS Review. The results are fascinating. Not least of all because real scholars, not the sloppy folks whose footnotes turn out to be false (do I hear the name "Walter Martin" echoing?), universally endorse the scholarly quality of the work produced by FARMS.

How does that keep getting left out here? In basest terms, the non-LDS scholarly PEERS of FARMS in fact accept the academic quality of the FARMS scholars, even as they disagree with them at various points.

Moreover, some of the academic interaction, such as FARMS' Craig Ostler's response to Copan and Craig's work on "Creation Out of Nothing" has been simply devastating. Point by point dismantling of their work, without a response by them in any forum for since it was published 7 years ago or so. In other words, they got spanked.

As I have also written about, Heiser's work on early Hebrew henotheistic beliefs has been published at length in FARMS, and he notes there are many points FARMS and LDS get correct which Christians have historically gotten wrong.

Hardly the feverishly slanted and religiously bigoted musings which they are painted here by critics which demonstrate, by their lack of specifics, to be based on religious prejudice and not scholarly discernment.

Walker said...

"Mormonism, has, in recent years, produced a substantial body of literature defending their beliefs...In this battle the Mormons are fighting valiantly. And the evangelicals? It appears that we may be losing the battle and not knowing it." (Paul Owen and Carl Mosser, "Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?" Trinity Journal, Fall 1998) This article criticizes the evangelical community for ignoring the large amount of research that has come from LDS scholars (most likely because many felt that LDS scholars could not be trusted and that Mormonism was so obviously wrong...) as well as the poor arguments put forth by so many counter-cultists. In other words, it was a call to get with the program and start actually engaging LDS scholarship because it was not only good, but it was winning.

Walker said...

The interaction between Michael Heiser and David Bokovoy was great (which itself was a response to Daniel Peterson's piece on Ps. 82 and John 10). Heiser recently earned his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages, Bokovoy is finishing up his Ph.D. in the Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible at Brandeis, and Peterson's doctorate is in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (he is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic). All of these articles are worth reading. However, I must say that Bokovoy did a fine job of addressing the "species-uniqueness" that Heiser employs when it comes to comparison among the divine council.

Walker said...

If I referenced David Paulsen's "Divine Embodiment: The Earliest Christian Understanding of God" from FARMS as an online read, I'm sure it would be mocked as illegitimate because it was done by a "biased, Mormon spin doctor."

But if I referenced Paulsen's articles in the Harvard Theological Review addressing the exact same subject, I wonder if the same criticism would be heaped upon it (perhaps the argument would then turn into "well, Harvard is so LIBERAL! They'll publish ANYTHING!")

David Bokovoy's response to Heiser is put out by FARMS and is an excellent source regarding the divine council in the ancient Near East. That too I'm sure will be dismissed. But will his article discussing the same subject published in the Journal of Biblical Literature be met with the same criticism. Or is the Society of Biblical Literature too "unChristian" as some CARMite posters say?

Walker said...

Or how about that Terryl Givens (Professor of Literature and Religion, University of Richmond) with his books "By the Hand of Mormon" (2003), "The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction" (2009), and "When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought" (2009): all published by Oxford. Or the recent "Joseph Smith, Jr.: Reappraisals After Two Centuries" which features both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars (such as Margaret Barker) and is also published by Oxford.

Oxford doesn't ignore them because they are Mormon. Oxford doesn't think their scholarship is too biased or too ridiculous to publish. I think the religious bigotry of many of our critics is painfully obvious.

Christine said...

"The conversation of when to accept expert opinion is interesting, largely because of the over-confidence of the LDS-critics in stating their distrust of LDS scholarship.

The single most respected anti-Mormon work of the past 100 years is easily agreed to be "The New Mormon Challenge". That work has articles by a dozen of the most respected non-LDS Christian scholars, headed by Francis Beckwith, later president of the Evangelical Theological Society."

You two are still missing the point. The original argument was about what true science is, not about theological reviews. You are still mixing religion with science.

I will expand on this a little bit later, I don't have much time right now though.

JediMormon said...

DNA does not prove the Book of Mormon false. It doesn't prove that it's true, either. First off, no one knows the the ethnicity of Lehi's wife. That does any argument in right there. Secondly, there were very probably other groups on the american continent before and during the time of the Nephites and Lamanites. The Book of Mormon does not speak much of them because it is primarily a history of one particular group (Lehi and his descendants), and God's dealings with them. Whoever wants to disagree with that, have at it. My testimony has never been based on any supposed physical evidence, but on spiritual evidence instead. And actually, there is plenty of physical evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon if one is honest enough to accept it as possible. However, any physical evidence, or lack thereof, does not bother me, (or most LDS, for that matter), in the least. As I've said before on here, my "proof" of the Book of Mormon is spiritual in nature and trumps any thing else mortals can come up with.

Walker said...

"The FARMS scholars who are doing work to specifically defend the faith are not doing true science."

This isn't exactly true. The research done is often independent and if it relates to Mormonism, then it is written about in FARMS. I used William Hamblin's research on metal plates as an example. But archaeology and DNA are not the only subjects written on by FARMS. Those subjects don't even make up the majority.

Walker said...

How about the name 'Alma' (which was originally thought to only be a Latin name, therefore providing criticism for the BoM) turning up in a 2nd century land deed near the Dead Sea in the 1960s as an authentic Hebrew male name: 'Alma ben Yehuda' ('ben' meaning 'son of...')? Was Howard W. Hunter too biased when Emanuel Tov provided him with a picture of the deed to place on his desk? Or when the name again shows up as a merchant's name in the Ebla tablets (dating 2000+ BC), are Mormons overly biased when they notice that this is bullseye for the BoM? Are they being too unscientific? Or are they (rightly) pointing out a solid and interesting connection? I vote the latter. But maybe that is just because I'm another biased, Mormon spin doctor...

Walker said...

"The original argument was about what true science is, not about theological reviews. You are still mixing religion with science."

The point with theological reviews was the respect in scholarship. As for scientific research (archaeology and the like), I've given a couple examples: William Hamblin has found that writing on metal plates was an ancient Near Eastern practice. Why is it illogical or unscientific for him to make a connection with Joseph Smith's claims about gold plates, especially when Smith was ridiculed for it? Why is it unscientific to be an expert in Mesoamerican culture and geography and make a connection between it and the geographical clues in the BoM, especially if the book is claiming to be true? How is noting that 'Alma' has been discovered in archaeological digs and making a connection to a Semitic name in the BoM unscientific? Without examples of supposed unscientific approaches, it is nothing more than hearsay.

And considering a critic provided a few quotes from believing anthropologists who warned against using pseudoscience and bad arguments, I am just not seeing this unscientific approach.

If the argument is "well, they believe this stuff, so their work is biased," then to an extent you are right. But this is true of any and everybody. Scientists are not immune from biases. However, to up and dismiss research by Mormon scholars solely because you think they will be completely biased in everything they find is nothing more religious prejudice: you are pre-judging before even reading their work (or at the most without refuting it).

Christine said...

"William Hamblin has found that writing on metal plates was an ancient Near Eastern practice."

Oh, sorry Walker, I wanted to comment on this but I didn't have time before. I think this is the passage where you talk about it:

"William Hamblin has written on "reformed Egyptian" and "gold plates." His research points to various examples of Egyptian characters with Semitic undertones. He points to the archaeological discoveries of writing on metal plates in the Near East. This is what his research consists of.

As a Mormon, he makes the interesting connection to Joseph Smith's claims of a Semitic people coming to the Americas, keeping their records on metal plates in 'reformed Egyptian' (a claim that was and still is ridiculed today). Joseph Smith at least got the concept of metal plates and Egyptian/Semitic languages correct.

Now you may not agree with his second observation, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with his research surrounding Eastern metal plates and Egyptian/Semitic language mixtures. This is the research that must be dealt with in logical connection with LDS claims.

It is much easier to say, "Well, Hamblin is Mormon, so he is a spin doctor and is biased" then to actually deal with what he has done."

In his research we have to make a distinction: - Hamblin's pure scientific observations and his relating those observations to his religion. The pure science comes in where he observes "Egyptian characters with Semitic undertones" and "archaeological discoveries of writing on metal plates in the Near East." From these observations, a scientist, with no religious agenda, can only conclude that there may be a relationship between Egyptian writing and Hebrew writing given the geographical proximity. They can also conclude that people in the Near East used metal on which to write and record scripture. This is true. Gabriel Barkay (sp?), I think was the one who found the silver plates on which a portion of Numbers was written.

Now, taking these observations and relating them to Joseph Smith, and his claims, takes you out of the realm of science and into that of theology. All you can say is, "Hmmm, here is an interesting coincidence," but you cannot establish a scientific relationship between the two, especially given that the two worlds are so far apart. It is not proof that Joseph Smith found gold plates on which there was writing in Ancient Egyptian, a language which is not known to anyone outside of the LDS culture. You see what I mean? When Hamblin tries to make this relation, he is stringing together observations in order to defend his religion. This is not true science because it is trying to prove "knowledge given to him as a witness by the Holy Ghost." I'm not trying to attack Mormon scholars. I'm just merely pointing out that you have to make the distinction between doing real science and trying to defend a religion.

M said...

Walker,

I think the reason why scientists are suspicious of FARMS research is because of the scholars' emotional attachment to their faith. What people believe in religiously is closely tied to their emotions and when you start to mix religion with science, there is always the problem of having your emotions cloud your judgment. This is why in some places, medical doctors are not allowed to operate on their family members.

Christine said...

"It is not proof that Joseph Smith found gold plates on which there was writing in Ancient Egyptian, a language which is not known to anyone outside of the LDS culture."

Oops, I meant Ancient Reformed Egyptian.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

The idea that because someone makes an "educated guess" about the BoM cannot be "scientific" is false on its face. Here is why.

The scientific method is applicable specifically in the absence of "hard facts". The method requires one to create an hypothesis and look for the real world circumstances of facts analyzed in the context of the hypothesis. Thus the conclusions of the hypothesis can be adopted as functional without absolute "proof". For example, the theory of relativity describes certain equations which are at variance from Newtonian physics in the realm of the travel of energy waves in the region of a gravity source. These equations dictate that GPS satellites should be in locations different than what the measured time of their signals would indicate in a Newtonian model. They have incorporated these figures into the GPS devices found on so many of our cars and used by the military.

These variations do not prove everything about the Theory of Relativity. They also are unaffected by the fact that Einstein found theological beliefs in a caring god to be garbage. Hamblin, Peterson, Sorenson or other LDS believers, who also approach an unproven data set (BoM evidence)with theories to explain the BoM evidence may or may not be valid scientifically, but it has nothing to do with their LDS beliefs. Their theories deserve analysis in the context of their scientific merit, not the irrational and/or prejudiced views of theological critics.

LDS Theology may motivate their desire to seek a scientific explanation, but the rejection of their analysis because of the desire to not have to learn or engage the issues encompassed by the science they propose is logically flawed. Many of the great discoveries of history have been motivated by people who have a personal interest in the outcome.

I want to point to S. Kent Brown's article on Nahom, and the thorough and logical development of the case he presents to support the premise that Joseph Smith could not have known from contemporary sources about Nahom. See http://www.nephiproject.com/on__nahom.htm . More importantly, notice that the evidence supports the conclusions he draws, which only interest him because he is LDS, not drawing the conclusions because he is Mormon.

Logic argues that religious bigotry is no basis for dismissing theories. The quality of the ideas and the content of one's thought's, not the church one attends, should be the basis of the analysis. The critics positions are also, I note, completely hypothetical, as in they poison the well for even interacting with the articles produced by Mormon authors based solely on the FEAR of slanted research, and not on actual interaction or evidence of outrageous conclusions.

M said...

"The scientific method is applicable specifically in the absence of "hard facts". The method requires one to create an hypothesis and look for the real world circumstances of facts analyzed in the context of the hypothesis. Thus the conclusions of the hypothesis can be adopted as functional without absolute "proof". For example, the theory of relativity describes certain equations which are at variance from Newtonian physics in the realm of the travel of energy waves in the region of a gravity source."

We need to be careful though when we are talking about a valid hypothesis. An Anonymous wrote that a hypothesis is:

"A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation."

You see, we need to start with "limited evidence" before we can begin a true scientific investigation. This kind of evidence can be external observations or it can be a theory formulated because of a logical problem between two or more existing and already well established theories. For example, what drove Einstein to his conclusion about time, space and the speed of light, which in turn lead to his theory on relativity, was that he noticed an inconsistency between Newtonian relativity and Maxwell's equations. Maxwell's equations stated that light could only move through space as a wave of oscillating electromagnetic fields but according to Newtonian relativity, if you were moving at the speed of light (if you could move at the speed of light) and you looked over at the wave, it would standing still, which is impossible according to Maxwell. This problem is what led him to formulate his theory and investigate further. It was a valid hypothesis.

However, starting with a religious claim, and trying to say that it is a hypothesis because it is a revelation from God, is not scientific and any research conducted on this basis cannot be true science. I have to agree with Christine on that.

Now, I'm not saying that Hamblin et al are wrong in their research. If they started out with "limited evidence" such as the external observations of "Egyptian characters with Semitic undertones" and "archaeological discoveries of writing on metal plates in the Near East," and the relation these have to Joseph Smith's claims, then that would be a legitimate base from which to work, but this wasn't his starting point. His starting point, from what I see, is the faith claims of his religion. Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn't.

Adrian said...

Please don't read this comment as something rude or all-knowing, these are just some of my thoughts.

I often hear Mormons complain that their critics "poison the well" by disregarding the efforts of FARMS and FAIR etc. However, it seems to me that you poisoned your own well. What I mean is this; in your Scripture and theology we find truly wild and bizarre sounding claims (that is just my honest opinion as an outside observer). We see it said that a group of Israelites sailed all the way to the Americas and built genuinely impressive civilizations. As it turns out we have an extremely hard time seeing any physical remnants of these cultures. Why I see that is strange is because for no apparent reason the Lamanites did not continue or imitate the technological advances of the Nephites after they defeated them. Then there is the dermatological problem that afflicts the Lamanites in which their unrighteousness has caused their skin to grow darker. We are also at first told that these ancient Israelites are the principle ancestors of the Native Americans by an apostle but the Church then changes their mind on that one. What I consider to be just as bad as all of that is that we have to read about this in a book that is written in Elizabethan english, even though that was not the accent of any of the translators or scribes.

This is why I disagree with Bob's conclusion that critics reject Mormon research on the BoM out of fear. It is my personal belief that their research is given such little respect is because it attempts to prove that such odd stories are actually historical events. To put it a different way, consider some of the efforts other belief employ in defending their faith. As far as any one is ever taught, receiving a blood transfusion is not only a good idea, but a life-saving idea. However, Jehovah's Witnesses will point to things like tainted blood to try and show you how terrible blood transfusions are and thereby demonstrate the validity of the Watchtower Society. Also I think you would be justified in being skeptical of a Scientologist who tried to prove that aliens where blown up by H bombs in volcanos.

I usually aim for a softer tone in my comments, but I am really not a talented enough writer to put it more gently, so please don't take it too personally.

M said...

To clarify a little more, scientists use the scientific method to explain the world around us. When we use it, we want to formulate a hypothesis or a theory about something and so we start with either external observations or a problem with one or more existing theories. Our hypothesis is an attempt to explain these things, or these problems, that we observe, that we don’t understand. After we form a theory that we believe is good enough and merits further investigation, we set up an experiment, if possible, or we look for further evidence (external observations or mathematics) to support our theory. This whole process involves external evidences (observations), logic, reason, and in many cases, mathematics. When we start bringing “revelations from God” into the picture, we can no longer call it science or scientific research. At that point, we have to call it something else.

Furthermore, the fact that we have to adjust our air and spacecraft to account for the effects of Einstein's theory of relativity does show us that his theory was, in fact, correct and true in the sense that it explains the world around us correctly. However, his theories weren't perfect and even he knew that. They didn't fit with some other existing theories in physics, fusing into a perfect worldview. He spent many of his last years trying, in vain, to resolve this. Many scientists though have taken up where he left off and so have created what we now know as modern physics. It’s fascinating to study actually.

M said...

"For example, the theory of relativity describes certain equations which are at variance from Newtonian physics in the realm of the travel of energy waves in the region of a gravity source."

This statement is confusing to me. According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, gravity as we knew it before him, is not a force within itself. It is created due to the warping of spacetime by a large body of matter. The lines of space themselves fold into the object in question such that if there is another object that is within that line of space, it will fall into the object. The larger the object, the more the matter, the greater the warping of spacetime and hence the greater the gravitational field. The theory formulates an equation that describes this geometry, in which Euclidean geomtery is a subset, by using many different g coefficients. The coefficients form a matrix such that when certain of them are zeroed out, they form a geometry (Euclidean geometry) under which Newtonian physics, or more correctly, Newtonian relativity, works. Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn't.

M said...

One more thing and I'll leave you alone. =o) Newtonian physics is not at variance with Einstein's physics. It is a subset of it

This is how the scientific method works and expands our knowledge and comprehension of the world. We start with theories that eventually evolve, either by improving those theories or creating new ones that encompass the older existing theories that are at odds with one another (similar to Hegelian dialectic). Through science we are constantly increasing our awareness and understanding of our universe.

As we do this, I believe we begin to better understand the mind of God. Although I don't believe that we will ever reach the point at which we will fully understand Him or know as much as He does. I'm sorry but I do not share the LDS view of human divinity. It is too much like the Nietzschean √úbermensch.

Anonymous said...

Adrian has a point about "wild and bizarre" claims. Even president Hinckley said about the BoM in one of the General Conference talks, that it was "hard to believe and easy to challenge."

Walker said...

"Hamblin's pure scientific observations and his relating those observations to his religion."

I can agree with this completely. Hamblin's research is fine in regards to metal plates. You don't have to believe the theological connection. But in regards to Mormon theology, to say there is no archaeological evidence would be untrue. Hamblin's research is one example.

I'm not trying to say FARMS does not have theological bias. But too many dismiss the research because it makes a connection to Mormon theology without actually looking at the research and then go on claiming "There is no evidence for the Book of Mormon." This is untrue. Hamblin's (for example) research is sound and he makes a very logical connection to Joseph Smith's claims. Take away the connection, the evidence for metal plates still stands. This is my point. Perhaps we were talking past each other.

William Lane Craig debates on the existence of God and historicity of the Gospels a lot. But he is already convinced of the truthfulness of Christianity due to a spiritual experience in his teens. But I still find some of his arguments very good (especially the historicity claims, along with Gary Habermas), even if he is biased. To dismiss him because he is a well-known Christian apologist and debater would be rather silly.

Forgive me if I misunderstood you. Hopefully, we we've cleared things up.

Walker said...

"What people believe in religiously is closely tied to their emotions and when you start to mix religion with science, there is always the problem of having your emotions cloud your judgment."

I understand and to some extent agree. But these aren't just "FARMS scholars." Many of them have other professions and write in other articles. For example, John Butler (resume found here: http://www.cstl.nist.gov/biotech/strbase/butler.htm) isn't a "FARMS scholar." But when others were using DNA findings to "prove" the Church false, he responded because he found the claims to be in error.

Those using DNA and the like to "prove" the Church wrong are overstepping the bounds of the scientific study into theological discussion. Therefore, a qualified scientist will overstep the bounds and explain, based on his studies, why he doesn't think it disproves the theological claims.

We are technically having a theological discussion. For anyone to use a scientific study and claim objectivity, but deny Mormons the right to use science to defend themselves, is far from objectivity. Are those using science to "disprove" the Church any less biased than those defending themselves with it? The difference is that the defenders are doing just that: defending against attacks. The attackers crossed the line first and claim "unscientific" or "biased" when the defenders have to do the same in order to defend themselves.

Walker said...

However, I will be bowing out. School starts this Monday and I will be tied up with my studies. You will probably not see my comments for a few months (scarcely at the most). But I will return. Thanks for the discussions.

M said...

"We are technically having a theological discussion. For anyone to use a scientific study and claim objectivity, but deny Mormons the right to use science to defend themselves, is far from objectivity. Are those using science to "disprove" the Church any less biased than those defending themselves with it?"

Fair enough. If someone is doing "scientific research" explicitly to prove a church's faith claim false, then it isn't true science.

"However, I will be bowing out. School starts this Monday and I will be tied up with my studies."

Thank you for the comments. Good luck! Have a good semester/quarter.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

I will miss the comments from Walker. I have been busy starting a new business, and have sort of relied on his well thought out responses to allow me to not feel the need to respond to every item. I appreciate the comments, challenges and banter, and hope that in the end, those gems of truth and wisdom find a place in the heart of the readers of this blog. I wish Walker well, and bid him visit as often as possible. In the mean time, the rest of us LDS will try to continue the good fight.

JediMormon said...

Hear, hear to missing Walker. I've enjoyed his posts.

M said...

"In the mean time, the rest of us LDS will try to continue the good fight."

The good fight - you know, I have heard many Christians use the same wording when speaking of Christians witnessing to Mormons. This is just my personal opinion, and there are many Christians who would disagree with me, but I believe that it is not a good fight at all actually. I don't believe that Christ would condone it.

Matthew 5:9
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

David said...

"Fair enough. If someone is doing "scientific research" explicitly to prove a church's faith claim false, then it isn't true science."

M, you are being too nice to these guys because what they are ignoring is what was mentioned before in the comments. The scientists who did the DNA studies on the American Indians were doing pure research. They did not have any religious views they were trying to defend. The LDS on this blog conveniently ignored that part of the discussion. This evidence proves to me, and to many other people in the world, that Joseph Smith was a liar.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

M,
I don't mean to pick a bad fight over "the good fight", but Paul is the one who first used the phrase in his letter to Timothy:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Tim. 4:7)

I also point out that it was Jesus who said:

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt 10:34-39)

Some ideas are worth contending for. But wisdom lies in knowing when and how, and not just nourishing our selfish arrogance which so many of us have.

Also, apparently, according to verse 38, there are things we can do which make us unworthy of Jesus by our actions. I mention this simply because the 'faith-only' and 'once-saved-always-saved' folks don't have an answer for these types of explicit, unequivocal statements in scripture.

Bob

Nathan said...

Bob,

M is right. Jesus wouldn't condone the "good fight" that you think you are fighting. Jesus came and stirred things up but what did he command us to do? Wasn't it something like "love one another"?

Even your own scriptures say it (D&C 64:9-10):

9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

But by all means, keep it up if you intend to break your own covenants with your god.

JediMormon said...

David said: "This evidence (DNA) proves to me, and to many other people in the world, that Joseph Smith was a liar."

Jedi replies: DNA does not prove Joseph Smith a liar, nor does it prove he was telling the truth. The fact is, no one knows the ethnicity of Lehi's wife. That forever casts a shadow on the interpretation of any DNA evidence in regards to the truth or falsity of the Book or Mormon. Furthermore, there were undoubtedly other groups on the american continent before and during the time the Nephites and Lamanites were there. My point is that no one can make a definite case one way or the other, based on DNA alone.

JD said...

So how far are you willing to take that "good fight" Bob? As far as John D. Lee and his men when they were ordered by the leaders of the church to kill those people from Arkansas?

No, of course you're not but my point is that there's a difference between engaging in theological discussions and fighting a "good fight" or calling people names like Santa's broken toys (even if you claim to have said it in a nice way).

My roommates and I (M included) just watched September Dawn. I checked the historical background of the movie and it was pretty accurate. To be honest, the movie was very disturbing to watch. I think the reason M said what she did was because this mentality of looking down at others or teaching that it's us against them and that we have to fight the "good fight" against the wicked gentiles - this mentality is what leads to religious violence and murder. I don't think Mormons are strangers to that either given that many innocent Mormons were killed as well during Joseph Smith's presidency of the church. It's the same mentality also that led to 9/11 and the murder of all the innocent Americans in 2001.

All of this, I think, is really not what Jesus had in mind when he commanded us to love one another.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 279   Newer› Newest»