Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, March 31

“Critique of Book of Mormon Critique Article: ‘HOW DO YOU LOSE A STEEL MILL?’ by Frank R. Zindler” by grego

“Critique of Book of Mormon Critique Article: ‘HOW DO YOU LOSE A STEEL MILL?’ by Frank R. Zindler” by grego

The introduction to Mr. Zindler reads thus:
“FRANK ZINDLER … has a distinguished academic career as a former biology and geology professor, science writer, linguist and bible-era historian.” With such an introduction, it really rubs in the irony that some of those who criticize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the grounds of science either lack reading comprehension skills or use faulty reasoning in their criticisms. One such critique is here: http://nowscape.com/mormon/zindler1.htm , entitled: “HOW DO YOU LOSE A STEEL MILL?” By Frank R. Zindler.

I won’t go through the whole thing, because it’s pretty much different verses of the same batty song; I’ll just critique a few points.

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Zindler:
“When Smith published his “golden bible ” in 1830, he gave elephants to his Jaredite actors, along with asses, cows, oxen, and horses. While this may seem startling to readers today, in upstate New York in the 1930s there was nothing odd about this. Thomas Jefferson had discovered the remains of an extinct mammoth, and it was probably widely assumed that ancient Amerindians had domesticated elephants in the way that modern Indians have done. I doubt that many rural New Yorkers then knew that the Amerindians had had no horses or cows until they got them from the Spaniards.
Although horses originated in North America, they – along with the various American species of “elephants” – went extinct many thousands of years before anything that could be called civilization had evolved in Central or South America.”

grego: Is there a source or reference material for “it was probably widely assumed” or “I doubt”? Probably not, huh? I would expect more from a true scientist.

Oh, elephants. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gomphothere:
The Gomphotheres are a diverse group of extinct elephant-like animals (proboscideans) that were widespread in North America during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, 12-1.6 million years ago… From about 5 million years ago onwards, they were slowly replaced by modern elephants, but the last South American species did not finally become extinct until possibly as recently as 400 CE.[1] Gomphotheres also survived in Mexico and Central America until the end of the Pleistocene.[2]
That’s actual current scientific understanding…

As for the presence of cows (comments by Zindler above and below), note what Charles Darwin (yes, “the”) wrote:
“It is, however, far from being an isolated one; for, during the late tertiary deposits of Britain, an elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus co-existed with many recent land and fresh-water shells; and in North America, we have the best evidence that a mastodon, elephant, megatherium, megalonyx, mylodon, an extinct horse and
ox, likewise co-existed with numerous land, fresh-water, and marine recent shells” (Darwin, C. R. 1846. Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co.)
Elephants, horses, and oxen–all living together in North America!

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Zindler has quite a lot to say about cows, horses, chariots, linguistics–and it sounds so good!

grego: Unfortunately, anyone reading this article–based on actual science and a much more proper methodology in action–will see that he lacks needed understanding on the topic: http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse/

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Zindler:
“At no time were cows present before the advent ofHispanic culture. No certain remains of preColumbian horses, asses, or cows have ever been found in the Americas.
…it is an archaeological certainty that no horses ever pulled the chariots of Jewish Aztecs or Babylonian Mayas – or should it be Babylonian Aztecs and Jewish Mayas?”
No animal-drawn wheeled vehicles were ever used in pre-Columbian America.”

grego: See the comment above by Charles Darwin.

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Zindler:
“If millions and millions of people made and used weapons and tools of steel for a period spanning more than three millennia, not only should archaeologists find plentiful remains of swords, chariot axles, anvils, sickles, and many other iron-based artifacts, they should be finding the remains of steel mills all over the territory covered by Smith’s cast of characters! It is perfectly conceivable that one might lose a steel sword. But how in hell can you lose a steel mill?!”

grego: I assume that someone talking about sicence will use facts as a main basis; yet I can’t find, from the Book of Mormon, the facts from the first phrase in the sentence. If Mr. Zindler could kindly provide a reference or even a logical argument for “millions and millions”, “[using] weapons and tools of steel”, and “for a period spanning more than three millennia”, that would be helpful to his argument. I have no idea why those who claim science as their God must make such blatant assumptions to lay the groundwork for their arguments. Also, any references to “chariot axles, anvils,” and “sickles” would be appreciated, too. And which archaeologists are they, and why should archaeologists be finding these things all the time? (By the way, does the Book of Mormon mention “stainless steel that never rusts”, too?) And which “territory” would that be? So, what size would a steel mill be in those cultures? And how many of them would there be?

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Zindler:
“Now, of course, the defenders of the Mormon kingdom might say we just haven’t been looking in the right place. Alas for the apologists, the Book of Mormon tells us precisely where to look for such artifacts. It claims that between one-half and one million steel-owning people died all at once, in one spot, around the year 400 C.E., in a climactic battle at “Hill Cumorah.” According to Mormon tradition, Hill Cumorah is a glacial drumlin situated near the upstate New York town of Palmyra. It is the site of an annual “Mormon Pageant.” Mormon revisionist geographers, however, place the hill in the Tuxtla Mountains, in the Mexican state of Veracruz.”

grego: Mr. Zindler seems to be very much an “only A or B” reasoner. (“It must be A or B!” “What about C?” “C??”) Unless Mr. Zindler can show use how the “Book of Mormon tells us precisely where to look for such artifacts” is not a misleading statement, I will have to accept it as such, because while the Book of Mormon does say “hill Cumorah”, I have yet to find in the Book of Mormon a note or clear map as to where the Hill Cumorah is. Revisionist (as if that were a dirty word–I imagine anyone trying to get beyond Newtonian phsyics was a “revisionist”, correct?) geographers are many, and Mr. Zindler mentions one of many sites postulated for the “Hill Cumorah”. (And yes, some have tried to dig, but are still waiting for approval–not from the Mormon Church, but from the governments of the respective areas.)

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Zindler:
“During that period, many millions of people possessed of steel and brass technology are alleged to have lived and died somewhere in the Americas. It is strange, therefore, to note that no one has ever found any steel artifact datable to Pre-Columbian times.”

grego: I suggest starting at the section “Presence of metal prior to A.D. 900” here: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Metals , then going here:
http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/Steel_in_the_Book_of_Mormon.html , then going here: http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_metals.shtml#steel .

(Do I agree with all of the explanations, etc., or give equal weight to each? Absolutely not. However, there’s much in these articles that counters many of Mr. Zindler’s comments.)

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I’ll sum it all up with comments from an article found now at http://web.archive.org/web/20041013195225/http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/dailynews/andeans981105.html :
“Much to the surprise of archaeologists, one of the earliest civilizations in the Americas already knew how to hammer metals by 1000 B.C., centuries earlier than had been thought.
“We were shocked. I was shocked,” says Richard Burger, director of Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Mina Perdida translates as “Lost Mine” and local residents had asked the researchers if they were looking for the area’s legendary hidden treasures of gold. Burger told them no, they were just studying the ancient cultures. They were confident the people of the area hadn’t done any metalworking back then.
“To be able to hammer it to that level of thinness requires an incredible amount of technique,” Burger says… “It shows a certain degree of metallurgical knowledge.”
Some foils were gold gilded onto copper and some show signs of annealing—heating to make them more malleable—but not smelting. That technique of melting metals to separate them from ore didn’t appear until about 100 B.C. (grego: according to current finds.)
Based on the dating of carbon atoms attached to the foils, they appear to have been created between 1410 and 1090 B.C., roughly the period when Moses led the Jews from Egypt and the era of such pharaohs as Amenhotep III, Tutankhamen and Ramses.
“It shows once again how little we know about the past and how there are surprises under every rock,” comments Jeffrey Quilter, director of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard University research institute in Washington, D.C.”

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I could continue, but like I said, nothing really new.

Critics seem to scream and squeal when pro-LDS use all kinds of ways to get out of problems and difficult situations, inventing all sorts of “specious” answers, etc. Yet, to find a logical countering of these pro-Mormon arguments is rare or even impossible, though critics have tried. On the other hand, con-LDS seem quite apt at coming up with similar situations; yet, the reasoning falls under logical countering. Mr. Zindler provided evidence after evidence that… our current understanding doesn’t know some things yet; in fact, most all of his evidence is only evidence that no hard evidence yet exists. Does it make it harder for a skeptic to believe? It might. Does this damn any argument? Hardly.

In fact, from the beginning to now, “fact” after “fact” has been scratched off the “Problems with the Book of Mormon” list because they were based on the same thing Mr. Zindler bases his criticisms on–lack of evidence. And as the last section shows, even Harvard archeologists admit we know very little, and there are still many suprises. Who knows, maybe one day, after researching more than the .5% or so of Mesoamerica that has been researched up to now (such a staggering amount of data to draw conclusions from, eh?), they’ll even find… a steel mill.

It seems Mr. Zindler’s real purpose was to write something funny for those who were already decided against the Book of Mormon to enjoy. Ironically, at the bottom of the page is an ad: “What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God’s Debris isn’t the final answer to the Big Questions. But it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends for FREE, then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.”

I have an idea for better fun, a new thought experiment: print out Mr. Zindler’s article and discuss it with your friends (if you have some that know how to use a little logic and a search engine) while enjoying a beverage. Try to figure out what’s wrong with his criticisms, and how many are actually based on substance. It’s sure to cause much more of a hoot.


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2009, March 27

“Response/ Critique of the anti-Mormon Article: ‘Critique of 1st Nephi’ (Book of Mormon)” by grego

Response/ Critique of the anti-Mormon Article: “Critique of 1st Nephi” (Book of Mormon)

grego

This is a short response/ critique of the anti-Mormon original article: “Critique of 1st Nephi” by Jimmy Li, found at http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_1stnephi.htm.

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Mr. Li:

Introduction
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormons, is a religious group that claims to be the only true restored church of Christianity. In addition, the LDS teaches unbiblical doctrines and also have three additional religious scriptures besides the Bible: the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines and Covenant, and the most well known one of all, the Book of Mormon. It is supposedly, “another testament of Jesus Christ”.

grego: Actually, that would be “non-biblical”, not “unbiblical”. And the book is “Doctrine and Covenants”, not “Doctrines and Covenants”. (Just two small but important points, I think.)

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Often, a favorite tactic of the LDS, especially among missionaries, is to give a potential convert the Book of Mormon (we shall abbreviate it as BoM) and ask them to pray for a “burning bosom” to confirm that it’s true. They would use the BoM at Mormoni 10:3-5 and James1:5 in the Bible to support the legitimacy of this act. But is this the right thing to do, and does the Bible really teaches us to pray for “burning bosoms” to confirm truth?

Certainly, no. Looking at James 1:5 again, we find that the passage is actually talking about wisdom, and the context deals with perseverance, not regarding confirmation of truth. The LDS considers the “burning bosom” as the testimony of their church. Personal and subjective testimony in itself isn’t a bad thing; but there must be elements of objective facts too. In this little booklet, we are not denying that God can have the power to penetrate lives and become very personal. We are concerned with evaluating the objective testimony of the LDS.

grego: In all that, I see nothing about what the Book of Mormon or the Holy Bible say about “a burning bosom”. (We seem to already be off to a bad start.) Nevertheless, that is one way to describe the feeling of the Holy Ghost. Now, what does the Holy Bible say? What does one make of this:

Jer. 20: 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But *his word was in mine heart as a burning fire* shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

What, objections that’s not really it? Well, how about this?:

Luke 24: 32 And they said one to another, *Did not our heart burn within us*, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Were the disciples lying, perhaps? (You know, the ones worthy enough to have Jesus appear to them and walk and talk with them?)
Or, was there a mistranslation of the Bible?
I don’t think Mr. Li would admit to either.

What is James 1:5 about? Paraphrased: “If you lack wisdom, ask God for wisdom”. Joseph Smith lacked wisdom; he asked God; he believed; he received–just like James 1:5.

In addition, I wonder if the author assumes that all LDS/ Mormons are less-than-intelligent people whose entire belief is built only upon a “burning bosom”; is this so?

I would be interested in knowing what the author understands about the Holy Ghost, its importance in understanding the things of God (as per Paul), and how God reveals Himself to man through the Holy Ghost. (And not just a bunch of “what the Bible says” references.)

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Let us look at Jesus’ testimony as an example in John 5:31-37. In this passage, we find Jesus giving three testimonies, or witnesses, to his claim of being the Christ:
1. Verse 34: Testimony of John the Baptist and the purpose of that is so that some may believe
2. Verse 36: Jesus’ very works and ministry
3. Verse 37and 39: God the Father, through His scriptures, testify of Jesus as savior

Thus, we will examine the claim of Mormonism objectively too, and welcome any LDS members to examine the claims of Jesus Christ.

grego: So, I gather that the author believes that these three testimonies about Jesus are “objective”. How is it that many nowadays on the earth don’t believe these three “objective” testimonies? Are any of these three testimonies claimed in the LDS Church? What, all of them? So, does that make the LDS Church “objective”?

Whoops. What about the first “objective” testimony? Jesus himself says:
John 5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
In other words, well, Jesus says the testimony of John doesn’t count as an objective testimony, and shouldn’t therefore be included in the examples above.

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Given the limit of this booklet, we will evaluate only the first book to appear in the BoM. The Book of 1st Nephi is a critical book, since this is where allegedly the Mormon story all began in 600 BC. If it falls under examination, since this is the foundation of the Mormon story, then everything else in Mormonism falls too.

grego: And once more, we have a problem (even if “falls” might read better as “fails”). “If one part is wrong, the entire thing is wrong.” Let’s test this hypothesis.. If the book of 1st Nephi fails, does that mean that God doesn’t exist, that He doesn’t love us, and that He didn’t send Jesus Christ to save us (these are three other parts of “everything else in Mormonism” the author refers to as having to fall if the book falls). I think Mr. Li would agree that that obviously doesn’t work. Nevertheless, if something fails, it fails, so let’s continue and see.

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Often, the writer is accused of being unloving and unfair. What is the goal of having a booklet like this? The Bible in Jude1:3 commands that we should “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” From this verse, we can see that the faith in which people can be saved has ALREADY been delivered to the saints, and “another testament of Jesus Christ” must surely be rejected. Sometimes, LDS members do not realize that the BoM attacks Christianity too. A look at 1Nephi 14 would clearly be an example of this.

We realize that LDS members are sincere people, and we love them and we will present them the truth in a loving manner. Attention was paid to the sensitivity of LDS members.

In addition, we recommend all would examine the verses referred to in this book in their proper context. Quotes from the Bible are from the NIV. It is the prayer of this writer that this booklet would lead some to the true Jesus.

grego: I have nothing whatsoever with someone presenting their point of view. I do have a problem with someone claiming to present my point of view, or others’ points of views, and doing so “unfair”ly, misleadingly, without comprehending, unintelligibly, or naively and stupidly. Which was the cause of what follows, I won’t judge, but I believe it might be at least one of them.

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Critique of 1st Nephi
Summary of 1Nephi
In order to critique 1Nephi, we must understand the story of 1Nephi. It is a story of how one family, having a dad as a prophet name Lehi, tries to leave Jerusalem to escape the upcoming wrath of God and enter into a new promise land. The book is recorded by Nephi, Lehi’s youngest son. Throughout the book, Nephi records visions received by his dad and himself. They leave everything behind to enter the wilderness, but then Nephi and his brothers come back to get their property and some brass plates. After a short adventure and convincing the family of Ishmael to come along also, the party enter into the wilderness. Nephi along with his brother Laman, Lemuel and Sam, married the daughters of Ishmael. Much hardship took place. Two brothers, Laman and Lemuel was especially rebellious and harden hearted. Problems occur often. Finally, they got near the sea and God instructed Nephi to make a ship. When they took off, Nephi got bounded by his brothers but God was able to release him. Nephi makes more prophecy. Eventually, they will find the promise land (and this is suppose to be the American continent).

Problems in 1Nephi
Under examination, the book of 1Nephi contain some problems that is too hard to ignore (there is a list of points here, that is included in the following):

Christ is the Same Forever
1Nephi 10:18 states concerning Christ, “For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.” So from this BoM verse, we see that the way to come to him is the same forever, and never changing. In the Bible, Hebrew 13:8 states the same thing. Now, using the principle of progressive revelation, the second revelation is suppose to agree in it’s teachings with that of the first revelation. Progressive revelation means additional information revealed and not contradicting information. So, if the BoM (second revelation) contradict the Bible (first revelation), it’s the BoM that is in trouble! Remember this principle as you are reading this booklet. We will use this principle to refute 1Nephi and the BoM.

grego: This is an interesting doctrine of “progressive revelation”; is it Biblical? Aren’t there many instances where, in fact, later revelation takes precedence over previous revelation? Isn’t that the purpose of much revelation? Didn’t God send the gospel first to the Jews, then by a later revelation send it to the gentiles? Didn’t God curse the earth because of Adam first, then later take the curse from the earth because of Noah (Genesis 3, 8)? Didn’t God tell Jonah to tell Ninevah it would be destroyed, then change after they repented? These are not extreme or rare occasions where the idea of “progressive revelation” fails, even in the Bible. (Using the same reasoning, does that mean the author’s religion has now failed completely, because something he taught failed?)

Besides, is there any explanation that has to do with the title of this section?

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Which Location?
If some don’t believe that the Bible according to Mormonism is a divine revelation, one just needs to look at the footnotes in the BoM. Bible verses appear everywhere!

grego: Um, Biblical belief was covered in the introduction, and is a really basic tenet of Mormonism.

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One such footnotes is for 1Nephi 8:9-10. In these 1Nephi verses, it describes a place that is footnoted supposedly to be the same place as the Bible’s description in Matt. 13:38, Gen. 2:9 & Rev. 2:7. It’s interesting to note that, in the vain attempt of the LDS to make Mormonism appear “Christian”, errors appear. The applied verse of Matt. 13:38 is actually describing a different place than Gen. 2:9 or Rev. 2:7! Matt. 13:38 has the world as it’s location, while the two other verses describes the garden of paradise. Though such mistake doesn’t put LDS in total jeopardy, it does raise concern about possible verse abuse of the Bible…

grego: Ouch, the author is very mistaken in his assumption as to the meaning adn purpose of the footnotes. Those are references, like a concordance, scriptures for further study, topics, etc.–not “footnotes” like in a research paper!
Of course, to put it in “total jeopardy”, one would have to prove that there is direct conflict between the verses, and because of the problem mentioned right above, there isn’t.

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Filthiness is Not Clear
But then the problem with the place described in 1Nephi as some kind of garden of paradise does not just end there. Picking up the vision in 1Nephi 15:27, Nephi said, “the water which my father saw was filthiness…?Since there are footnotes trying to establish this river as being in the garden of paradise as that of the Bible’s, we would expect it to have the same and not opposite description of the same place. How could the water in 1Nephi be filthy then, when in the Bible at Rev. 22:1 it describes the river as clear?

grego: Ok, I finally understand. The author assumes that Nephi is describing the garden of Eden; it’s clearly not so, the author is mistaken. Footnotes do not try to “establish this river as being in the garden of paradise as that of the Bible’s”. Seriously, I have never heard even one Mormon mention this as a belief (and yes, I have heard some weird things from some Mormons…). I promise you that sharing this with your LDS friends will result in massive confusion or inner laughter or, if they are better people than I, kind rebuke and instruction.

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Saved Forever, Not Temporary
Continuing with the issue of 1Nephi’s “garden of paradise”, it’s realized that the fruits on the tree are the fruit of eternal life (cf. Gen.3:22;Rev. 2:7 in the Bible and intro to 1Nephi Chapter 8 in the BoM). Only those who were saved were allowed to eat this fruit. Yet, in 1Nephi, unsaved people ate the fruit of life, and were no longer saved, but fell away! Christianity teaches once saved, always saved, but not 1Nephi. Because there’s a difference between the two revelations, Mormonism is the one in trouble due to the principle of progressive revelation.

grego: Once more, the author’s argument is based upon false assumptions, so it’s pretty pointless after realizing this to continue to point things out. By the way, which Christianity teaches “once saved, always saved”–or do they all? So, was Judas saved or not? Or was he chosen an apostle, but just never saved in the first place? Is that possible?

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Lord’s True Gospel
Concerning the Lamb’s seed, 1Nephi13:36 states, “in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.” The Bible also states that if anyone preaches another gospel, it isn’t really any gospel at all (cf. Gal.1:6-7).

grego: True. “Another gospel” would also include–as apparent to anyone who reads the letters of Paul and understands why he wrote them–an incorrect interpretation of the true Gospel, right? So, which Christian church preaches the correct interpretation of the Gospel (and the Bible, along with it), out of the many interpretations?

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Does the BoM have the right gospel? Their gospel is a gospel of works AND grace (cf. 2Nephi 25:23) The Biblical gospel is one of grace alone (cf. Eph 2:8-9). The LDS gospel is thus, a false gospel. It fails to recognize grace alone for man’s redemption from sin. Works come as a fruit of grace (cf. Eph. 2:10), not a co-factor with grace. We must thus come to God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

grego: Ahhh, so all of Christianity outside of Mormonism is in accordance with this belief?

(See, here’s why Mormons chide others for Bible use; it has nothing to do with using the Bible properly, but improperly. They throw down one verse, ignore all the others, and say, “See! This is the only correct interpretation.” Oh?) Are there two verses in the entire Bible that say, “You are saved by grace alone and nothing you do has anything to do with being saved”? How about a person saying, “Jesus, I ask you to save me.” Is that a work? Did someone do or say something of their own will to be saved? Or is everyone–including those that don’t ask to be saved–saved by grace? Do works have anything to do with being saved?

And are we forgetting, say, the book of James; or was Paul greater than James? What does “progressive revelation” tell us about this if James was an apostle before Paul, and wrote before Paul?

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Disarming the Counter-Attack
It happens often that an attack upon the Bible is made around this point. “The Bible is accurate only as it is translated correctly” the LDS would charge. Since the Bible is used to undermine the BoM, an attack on the Bible seems tempting.

grego: I see no need for “attacking” the Bible “around this point”. I do, however, see a need to disagree with one person’s interpretation of a scriptural passage.

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It seems theoretical that in attacking the Bible as inaccurate from the original manuscripts, the BoM is spared. But we must realized that the Bible has one of the most reliable and accurate ancient manuscripts in history, which gave us many manuscripts in the original language for us to translate…There is original language Bible text to check verses that might not make much sense in English.

grego: Not really. If I recall correctly, at best, especially for the New Testament, we have copies of translations. By the way, does this really have anything to do with the argument?

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Many scholars in this field, whether Christians or not, would agree that the Bible is translated correctly.

grego: Interesting (or naive?) comment, in light of there being numerous non-LDS/ Mormon Christian translations of the Bible, which often disagree with each other. (Mr. Li himself noted which translation he would be using.)

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But the real issue here is actually whether the Bible is considered inspired in the views of the LDS and the BoM. Since there are Bible verses in the footnotes of the BoM concerning truths in terms of God, doctrines and history, this legitimizes the Bible enough as authoritative.

grego: “Is the Bible actually considered inspired in the views of the LDS and the BoM?” I’d say so. This is hardly a point. But it has nothing to do with “Bible verses in the footnotes”.

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Thus a Biblical refutation of 1Nephi is indeed, very powerful in critiquing the BoM.

grego: Absolutely–if only it were true that the Bible refuted 1 Nephi.

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Engraved in Brass or Stone?
1Nephi 4:16 states, “And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.” The BoM gives the impression that the law mentioned in this verse is the law of the Bible since the footnote linked the law to Joshua 1:8, which referred to the Book of the Law (the Torah). Other verses from 1Nephi also mentioned the Law as engraved in brass (1Nephi 4:24, 5:10-11,etc). But here’s another problem in 1Nephi with the Bible; turning to the Bible in 2Cor. 3:7, it states concerning the Law, or “the ministry that brought death”, as being “engraved in letters on stone”!(italics are the author) Hence, another difficulty with the BoM.

grego: Once more, another faulty assumption about footnotes on the author’s part renders this argument unsubstantive. (These are two different records/ engravings, not the same one.)

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Prophecy Unfulfilled
1Nephi 5:18 prophesied (cf. 1Nephi 5:17) “that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed.” However, this prophecy would never be fulfilled since these plates no longer exist! The Bible mentions that presumptuous predictions that failed to be fulfilled come from man, not God! Thus, 1Nephi is a product of man’s imagination. Of course, some would say that 1Nephi 5:17 refers to the BoM going out to all the nations today. But there’s still one more prophetic problem in 1Nephi.

A False Prophet
If we look at 1Nephi 5:19, Lehi (cf. 5:16-17) prophesied and “said that these plates of brass should never perish” and “neither should they be dimmed any more by time.” The brass plates no longer exist though! We find Lehi prophecy unfulfilled. The Bible says that “if what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:22) Since Lehi was a false prophet, we must reject him, and since he was the prophet that begins everything in 1Nephi, we must also reject 1Nephi and consequently, the BoM too.

grego: Actually, they do still exist. Patience, please. Nothing ungodly here.
This is a case of yet-unfulfilled prophecy, such as the prophecy that Jesus will come again. (I assume Mr. Li believes Jesus will come again, but hasn’t–yet. Or are we just to say, since He hasn’t, Jesus and many of the Biblical prophets are false prophets?)

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Hell Yes, Hell No
Not only does the LDS teachings have a problem with the Bible, but it’s own BoM as well! LDS missionaries sometimes teach that there is no hell. Strangely, in 1Nephi 12:16 an angel interpreted a vision of the depths of a river as “the depths of hell”. Hell here, isn’t a symbolism since it was an interpretation of a symbolic vision. In addition, 1Nephi described hell as “hath no end” (1Nephi 14:3) and awful (15:35).

grego: Interesting. Is there a reference for “LDS missionaries sometimes teach that there is no hell”? Perhaps anything in the Book of Mormon about that?

-=-=-=

Water Baptism
1Nephi 20:1 mentions “the water of baptism”. It’s interesting to note that baptism didn’t exist between 588 through 570 BC, when this verse was written in! Supposedly, 1Nephi 20 is the BoM version of Isaiah 48. There is not mention of water baptism in it whatsoever.

grego: The author seems so sure that baptism didn’t exist…

-=-=-=

Compass
1Nephi 16:10 describes “a round ball of curious workmanship” which is footnoted as being the same object referred to in 1Nephi16:16 and another part of the BoM, Alma 37:38.

grego: At least the author is correct about it being the same object!

-=-=-=

Alma 37:38 mentions that this ball is called Liahona, or interpreted as compass. In addition, 1Nephi 18:12 and 18:21 mentioned about this compass. But compass weren’t in existence yet! Compass was invented in the 1000 AD. Yet, these events in 1Nephi took place over 1, 500 years before!

grego: Please see here: http://www.farms.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=2&num=1&id=48

I quote from it:
“For Vogel, the Liahona is best explained as an anachronistic response to local debate.

Although the mariner’s compass had not yet been invented, the Lord provided Lehi with a compass-like instrument, described as a “round [brass] ball of curious workmanship.” Inside the ball were “two spindles,” one of which “pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” (p. 51)

Where Vogel sees a magnetic mariner’s compass, Hugh Nibley approaches the text against the purported context and provides an alternate picture.

The Liahona was a hollow bronze sphere in which were mounted two pointers, headless arrows that bore mysterious inscriptions and pointed the way that Lehi’s party should travel in the desert. Besides pointing the direction, the arrows and the inscriptions also provided special instructions for the journey. They only worked during the expedition to the New World, after which they ceased to function.15

Nibley then compares the Liahona to belomancy in the ancient Near East:

A recent study by an Arabic scholar has called attention to the long-forgotten custom of the ancient Arabs and Hebrews of consulting two headless arrows whenever they were about the undertake a journey; the usual thing was to consult the things at a special shrine, though it was common also to take such divination arrows along on the trip in a special container. The message of the arrows, which were mere sticks without heads or feathers, was conveyed by their pointing and especially by the inscriptions that were on them, giving detailed directions as to the journey.16

Vogel mentions aspects of the Liahona that he can relate to the pre-1830 discussion, the round shape, and the pointing spindles, but ignores the odd name, the writing on the pointers, the writing that occasionally appeared on the ball, the fact that the Liahona only worked when Lehi’s people were obedient and stopped working after the voyage, and so on. By Kuhn’s standard, Nibley’s description of the Liahona is more accurate than Vogel’s, more coherent and comprehensive. It introduces novel phenomena, and is, in my view, more aesthetically pleasing and promising. Vogel’s description of the Liahona highlights superficial similarities to a mariner’s compass and ignores profound differences.”

-=-=-=

For some reason unknown to the author, the BoM footnoted a verse in the Bible to support this Liahona object at Exodus 13:21. Exodus 13:21 states, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar offer to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Nowhere is there a description of anything similar to a “two spindles” inside a ball, or namely, a compass! Another thing that usually raises up with LDS defenders is the fact that the King James Version has the word “compass”. In context, this doesn’t present us any problems since the word “compass” is used to describe a turning around direction. Note: In Acts 28:13, the “fetched a compass” translated from the greek means to turn around, not to fetch a round metal ball object. This author had the opportunity to look up this verse in a Greek interlinear translation to confirm this.

grego: Um, once more, a problem with misunderstanding the footnotes. (One begins to wonder if the author ever considered that with so many easily-seen discrepancies in the footnotes, they might have perhaps been something other than what he thought they were…)

-=-=-=

The Steel Connection
If we turn to 1Nephi16:18, we find Nephi in a situation in which he has to kill a man named Laban, who had stolen his family’s property. 1Nephi 4:9 records Nephi stating, “And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.” Steel is also mentioned in 1Nephi 16:18. These passages all took place between 600-592 B.C, as the BoM state. But steel as we know it (“exceedingly fine” workmanship), wasn’t invented until the mid-1800s! Is the BoM then, a product of modern myth?

grego: If the Book of Mormon came out before the “mid-1800’s”, how could it have the word “steel” in it?? Might there be more to this? Look here:
http://ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com/2008/06/bible-and-book-of-mormon-steel.html
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai267.html
and the section “Old World Steel in the Book of Mormon” from http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2001_Boomerang_Hits_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html.

-=-=-=

Where Was Jesus Born?
Another reason why we should reject the BoM is because of another contradicting problem with the first revelation (the Bible). In Alma 7:10 it states, “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel…” Whereas the BoM teaches that Jesus was born at Jerusalem, the Bible teaches that Jesus is born at Bethlehem. Matthew 2:4-5 states,”When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written’.

grego: This is from a man whose ancestors’ last contact with the old world was almost 500 years earlier. The land of Jerusalem would include Bethlehem, a tiny village. For more reading:
en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Jerusalem_vs_Bethlehem
http://www.shields-research.org/Scriptures/BoM/BOMIssue.htm

-=-=-=

Conclusion
After a critique of the first book appearing in the Book of Mormon, the book of 1Nephi, we have to reject it upon these grounds:
1. It contradicts the Bible, and since the Bible is the first revelation, 1Nephi is the one in trouble due to principle of progressive revelation.
2. Two prophecy unfulfilled made by a major prophet in 1Nephi.
3. It does not represent the true teachings and doctrines of the Bible nor the LDS itself!
4. The mentioning of things that didn’t exist until far beyond it’s time.

What then, shall we do now? We must reject the Book of 1st Nephi. And since 1st Nephi lay the foundation for the rest of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon must be rejected also. Thus, the LDS system must be abandoned altogether. Repent, and come to the true Jesus Christ as revealed in His Holy Word, the Holy Bible. Hold onto His Word as the standard of truth. Confess your sins to Him, and you shall be saved…He is waiting for you.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.”-Matthew 11:29

grego: Conclusion:
After a critique of the critique of the first book appearing in the Book of Mormon, the book of 1Nephi, we have to reject it upon these grounds:
1. Mr. Li clearly misunderstands the purpose and use of footnotes in the LDS scriptures;
2. Mr. Li’s arguments are mostly based on that misunderstanding;
3. other arguments Mr. Li makes have been refuted in great and clear detail.

Therefore, I encourage Mr. Li to really should refrain from encouraging others to pass out this pamphlet, or ask Mormons/ LDS about this; it would be pretty embarrassing, I imagine. (Of course, if you don’t believe me, you may make an attempt.) There are other con-Mormon materials out there that are harder to respond to–this is something that many, if not most, Mormons would be able to reject outright.

-=-=-=

–JIMMY LI
Last Edited August 29, 2008 22:49

grego: Jimmy, I love you, brother.


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2009, March 25

“How Does the Book of Mormon Bring One Closer to God?” by grego

“How Does the Book of Mormon Bring One Closer to God?”
by grego

Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.194).

I have wondered especially about that last part. A while ago, the thought came to me about how this was true, and how this book differed even from the Bible in this respect.

It began by asking, “What precepts lead one closer to God?”

Faith. Repentance. The Holy Spirit. Gifts of the Spirit. Prayer. Fasting. Scriptures. Revelation. Service. Covenants. The Book of Mormon has them all, and most of them are presented quite clearly, too. It is much easier to understand than the Bible and harder to take occasion with (take a look at all the different takes on and problems with understanding the Bible).

The Book of Mormon teaches one to draw closer to God especially through the use of vignettes where people meet problems with prayer and fasting, receive revelations and answers, decide and act—and the results are pretty clear.

Wouldn’t that bring one closer to God?


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Book of Mormon: “Alma 11: A Little Humor? Slight Irony?” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon — grego @ 1:06 am
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Book of Mormon: “Alma 11: A little humor? Slight irony?”
by grego

Zeezrom asks if Amulek will respond to a few questions:
Alma 11:21 And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? …Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?

Amulek replies:
Alma 11:22 …Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord.

Zeezrom asks his question (well, not really a question, let’s say he offers his first bribe):
Alma 11:22 …Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.

And here comes the answer—according to the Spirit of the Lord??
Alma 11:23 Now Amulek said: *O thou child of hell*, why tempt ye me?…

But looking at what follows, it’s apparent the Spirit of the Lord revealed things to Amulek.

Humor? Irony? Fun!


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2009, March 24

“Book of Mormon: Healing Medicine for LDS/ Mormons” by grego

Book of Mormon: Healing Medicine for LDS/ Mormons
by grego

Today, most American Mormons/ LDS are pretty strict Western medicine-only people, especially when it comes to threatening/ serious diseases, like cancer. Even going near “something else” makes many freak out (as in, many of my family). It has almost become a part of our Articles of Faith: “We believe that doctors have been called of God, by prophecy, to cure us from all diseases and provide medicine from God, and others are anathema.”

If Western medicine can’t cure it, it *can’t* be cured, plain and simple. Unless…

Unless, of course, it’s of the devil.

Ok. So, what… The devil wants to cure people, make people better and healthy, give them more happiness, lessen their pain, allow them to spend good happy time with their families, etc.? But, I thought he wanted to make people miserable? It’s something I’ve thought about many times–why not? Keep them from things that will make them turn to God, right? But does that happen in many instances? It’s possible, but is it likely the case? I think usually not.

So what’s going on here?

For most of it, I refer you to my previous article about “Three Spirits”.

I can give you the only reference that I’ve found to medicine/ health in the Book of Mormon (there are just a few in Doctrine and Covenants), and let the LDS reader decide if the book is true or not, and if so, hopefully open their mind just a little more to alternative medicine:

Alma 46:40 And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the *excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared* to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate—

Something to contemplate…

(P.S. Those plants and roots didn’t necessarily have a brand name on them… Even many good dried herbs can contain poison from the drying/ preserving process, so ask before you buy! You might want to consider asking and buying from a real herbalist that doesn’t use those methods, rather than from a big manufacturing and distributing company.)


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2009, March 20

“Book of Mormon: Were the Lehites Led Out or Kicked Out of Jerusalem by the Lord?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Were the Lehites Led Out or Kicked Out of Jerusalem by the Lord?”

grego
(c) 2009

In the Book of Mormon, Lehi, Nephi, and all the prophets clearly understand that the Lord led the Lehites out of Jerusalem to save them, because of the wickedness of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4, 13; 3:17, 18; 5:4, 7:13, 14, 15; 17:14; 19:20, 2 Nephi 1:1, 3-5; Jacob 2:32, Omni 1:6, Mosiah 1:11, 2:4, 7:20; Alma 9:9, 22; 36:29; Helaman 8:22).

Laman, Lemuel, and many of the children of Ishmael have different opinions:
1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because *he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem*, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, *to perish in the wilderness*. And this they said he had done because of the *foolish imaginations of his heart*.
1 Nephi 2:13 *Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets*. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
1 Nephi 16:35 And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did *murmur against my father, because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem*, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings *we must perish in the wilderness* with hunger.
1 Nephi 16:36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were *desirous to return again to Jerusalem*.
1 Nephi 17:20 And thou art like unto *our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem*, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
1 Nephi 17:22 And *we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people*; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, *we know that they are a righteous people*; and *our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him*. And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.

All of these thoughts become a Lamanite tradition, and even worse:
Mosiah 10:12 They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this–Believing that they were *driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers*, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea…

In addition, the birth and life of Jesus in a faraway land was a point of contention leading to unbelief in some:
Helaman 16:17 And they began to reason and to contend among themselves, saying:
Helaman 16:18 That it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come; if so, and he be the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, as it has been spoken, why will he not show himself unto us as well as unto them who shall be at Jerusalem?
Helaman 16:19 Yea, why will he not show himself in this land as well as in the land of Jerusalem?
Helaman 16:20 But behold, we know that this is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing which should come to pass, but not among us, but in a land which is far distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes that they are true.

And notwithstanding the continuous reminders that the Lord had led them away and preserved them from destruction and blessed them, we still have things like this:
Jacob 7:26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old… the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, *cast out from Jerusalem*, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

So, I imagine it was an important enough tradition about the Lehite and Mulekite beginnings that when Jesus came to visit this “lost” people, and perhaps because Jesus had lived his mortal life in another part of the world, and only appeared to them after His resurrection, that He told them:
3 Nephi 15:19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.

Once more… What is the likelihood that Joseph Smith displayed this wonderful threading of the “leaving Jerusalem” theme throughout the Book of Mormon?


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2009, March 18

“Book of Mormon: Is it Necessary for One to to Know if God the Father of Jesus Christ Had/ Has a Body in order to Have Faith in Jesus Christ?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Is it Necessary for One to to Know if God the Father of Jesus Christ Had/ Has a Body in order to Have Faith in Jesus Christ?”
by grego

I am continually astounded by the ad nauseum arguments over whether God has a body or not. Frankly, does it matter? Maybe only if you’re trying to know the character of God and His plans. To some LDS doctrine, it’s important: God is our father, we are his children, we will become as Him, the resurrection is for all and it’s permanent, etc. But must it be a central point of contention, especially at the beginning?

However, interestingly, in the Book of Mormon, it seems it’s not important; at least it wasn’t to the brother of Jared at the time of his great faith. I doubt most anyone—ChristianTM or LDS—has the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that the brother of Jared had. Something finally struck me (after who knows how many times of reading the story)… He was surprised when he saw the pre-mortal Lord in human form, as if He had a body:

Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
Ether 3:7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
Ether 3:8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
Ether 3:14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
Ether 3:15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
Ether 3:16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

You’ll notice that the Lord mentions the brother of Jared’s faith–twice (verses 9, 15). Notice also the important thing was not whether the Lord had a body or not, or even if God the Father and Jesus Christ are the same, but… Do you believe Jesus’ word? Do you have faith in His word? There was much leading up to this experience of the brother of Jared’s, and it had mostly to do with his great praying and his acting on the answers he received from the Lord.

In the great preachings to and conversions of the Lamanite kings, we read a lot about God and his plan, but nothing about God’s having a body or not having a body, or even of his being our Father (in fact, it’s possible that it was actually skipped on purpose—there was good chance for mentioning it, if the prophets at that time even knew it; must they have known it?). Ditto for the great discourses of Alma. Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, Mosiah, Alma the elder and younger, Helaman, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni—nothing. In fact, the only time it’s a main point of doctrinal discussion in the Book of Mormon is when the prophets talk about Jesus Christ coming to earth and gaining a body, in relation to the resurrection and atonement. (There are a few in the book who speak of seeing and speaking to Jesus Christ.) And yet, the Book of Mormon stresses faith in Jesus Christ and repentance all the time.

The account of the brother of Jared makes it clear that to have faith in Jesus Christ—in fact, *exceeding* faith—strong enough to see him and all spiritual things–
it is *not* necessary to know what God looks like.

And if Joseph Smith, who claimed he saw God in human form shortly after he was fourteen years old, and upon which the whole restoration story starts, really invent the Book of Mormon, how did he forget to write in the Book of Mormon, the landmark book of Mormonism, anything about God the Father having the form of a body?


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2009, March 13

“Book of Mormon: Jesus Christ Was a Spirit Before Coming into the World” by grego

Book of Mormon: Jesus Christ Was a Spirit Before Coming into the World
by grego

Following closely the last post…

In Ether we read of the account of the brother of Jared seeing the Lord Jesus Christ before He was born:
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
Ether 3:7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
Ether 3:8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

If one were to stop there, it would seem that the Lord had a body of flesh and blood at that time; but continuing…

Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood…
Ether 3:14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ…
Ether 3:16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

Jesus Christ had a spirit (body) at that time, but did not have a body of flesh and blood until His birth. This should also make mute any doctrine that supposes that Jesus Christ was a resurrected person before His birth.

But would it be possible that he had a resurrected body, then didn’t/ “gave it up”?

The following scriptures come to mind:
*Alma 11:45: “…that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided…that they can see no more corruption.”
*Alma 12:18: Alma: “and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.”
*Alma 29:17 And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may sit down in the kingdom of God; yea, and also all those who are the fruit of their labors that they may go no more out, but that they may praise him forever.
*Alma 34:36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out;
*Helaman 3:30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
*3 Nephi 28:40 And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens.
*Doctrine and Covenants 63:49: “…they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after…”
*Doctrine and Covenants 88:116: “…and they shall not any more see death.”
*Doctrine and Covenants 138:17: “the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided…”
(*Guide to the Scriptures: Resurrection After resurrection, the spirit and body will never again be separated, and the person will become immortal.
*Bible Dictionary: Resurrection The resurrection consists in the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided.)

All of that seems to put a limit on certain speculation regarding God (either the Father or Jesus Christ) having a resurrected body, but then giving it up.


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2009, March 12

“Book of Mormon: The Lord Jesus Christ Corrects the Brother of Jared’s Doctrinal Error” by grego

Book of Mormon: The Lord Jesus Christ Corrects the Brother of Jared’s Doctrinal Error
by grego

This has to do with how Jesus corrects a doctrinal error made the by the brother of Jared when he sees Him.

Here is the situation:
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
Ether 3:7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
Ether 3:8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

Now, the Lord *didn’t* have flesh and blood at that time–He was still just a spirit, not having been born and received a body of flesh and bones yet; the brother of Jared was wrong when he said, “I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.”

So what does the Lord tell him?
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?

He hints at the correct answer, and praises the brother of Jared’s faith!! The important point was the process of developing and perfecting the brother of Jared’s faith, not getting stuck on a doctrinal tangential point that early in the process.
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
Ether 3:14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
Ether 3:15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

Jesus Christ continues on about faith, shows himself to him, and talks about other things.

The Lord finally tells the brother of Jared the truth about what he saw:
Ether 3:16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

The Lord certainly has a way in relationships.


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2009, March 4

Book of Mormon: Ammon’s Cataplexy

Well, I just found out, to the best of my research, what Ammon in the Book of Mormon experienced twice: cataplexy. Simply, it’s where your emotions overcome your body, making the muscles relax. (I wonder if there’s another form not mentioned in the literature I’ve read, because I know two children who, with one pinch, suffer immediate total collapse/ are on the floor, and a few others that are close but not that bad. In other words, it seems the cause is not just emotional/ psychological.) By the way, if you know something better, sound off on the comments.

Here it is in the Book of Mormon:
Alma 19:14 Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth.

Alma 27:17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.
Alma 27:18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.
Alma 27:19 Now the joy of Alma in meeting his brethren was truly great, and also the joy of Aaron, of Omner, and Himni; but behold their joy was not that to exceed their strength.

Is it possible that Joseph Smith had cataplexy, and that this condition is how he had the First Vision? (For example, one ex-Mormon critic I know believed that the First Vision came by way of Joseph Smith suffering narcoleptic attack, then having a hypnagogic hallucination/ sleep paralysis, then having an epileptic seizure including a drawn-out participatory visual and auditory hallucination; and, in fact, his other visions were similar. In his own words: “Couldn’t a person with an unusual brain learn to induce such a state more or less at will? Unsual and surprising isn’t the same thing as impossible and why shouldn’t we give a naturalistic account a chance for something like this?” I guess he could also use his powerful mind control brainwaves to induce the same conditions in others that shared his visions and experiences, along with their own… Ok…)

Nope. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there is nothing about Joseph Smith having any of the other accompanying principal signs or symptoms. Besides, “hynagogic hallucinations” are never positive, “sleep paralysis” doesn’t allow one to move and speak as Joseph did, and for Joseph–a person of a jovial nature–to have never had a previous cataplectic attack, nor one afterwards, seems to be extremely unnatural.

From @ikipedia:
“Cataplexy is a medical condition which often affects people who have narcolepsy, a disorder whose principal signs are EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness), sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations[1] and disturbed night-time sleep.”

From Scholarpedia:
“Emotions that may trigger attacks include laughter, fear, anger, frustration, annoyance, nervousness, embarrassment, and sadness. Positive emotions, specifically laughter, are most predictive of triggering a cataplectic event. Data from the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic of 200 patients with cataplexy showed that 100 percent of these patients reported laughter as the most common trigger, followed by a feeling of amusement, or surprise with happiness and joy [2]. A study by Anic-Labat et al reported that emotions arising from “hearing or telling a joke,” “laughing,” or “when angry,” were most predictive of the loss of muscle function in clear-cut cataplexy [3].”

Note that the experiences of cataplexy in the Book of Mormon are not normal in that the person experiencing them doesn’t have the disorder, just a one- or two-time experience. There is also another difference with usual cataplexy: during at least one episode, Ammon lost consciousness. Compare that to this typical definition of cataplexy: “a medical condition in which strong emotion or laughter causes a person to suffer sudden physical collapse though remaining conscious.”

So when was cataplexy first reported, and how aware of it would Joseph Smith have been? (Or are fainting spells close enough that they count?)

From http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2564780:
“To publish the first English translations, with commentary, of the original reports describing narcolepsy and cataplexy by Westphal in German (1877) and by Gélineau in French (1880).”
“Results: Both Westphal and Gélineau correctly identified and described the new clinical entities of cataplexy and narcolepsy, with recurrent, self-limited sleep attacks and/or cataplectic attacks affecting 2 otherwise healthy people. Narcolepsy was named by Gélineau (and cataplexy was named by Henneberg in 1916)…”

So, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon predate medical literature by many years. It is possible, of course, that Joseph Smith had known or heard of someone with cataplexy or having a cataplectic attack.

Ammon is not the only one; Lamoni, his wife, and his father all experience it or something similar.

I know from personal experience similar to that of Ammon’s that his experience as written in the Book of Mormon is absolutely possible. (Hey, I doubt I was as righteous or faithful as him, and it wasn’t 14 years separation for me.)


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