Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, December 29

“Satan’s Greatest Lie” by grego

“Satan’s Greatest Lie”


Learning about the pre-existence and the council in heaven, we hear about two plans: Heavenly Father/ God’s plan (and Jesus’ willingness to be the Savior in it), and Satan’s plan.

Satan’s plan was that he would force everyone to be good, and everyone would be saved.

We hear about the need for agency/ the ability to choose in order to develop etc., so Heavenly Father’s plan was better, etc.

Here’s another thought: Not only was Heavenly Father’s way the best way, it was the only way.

Especially, Satan’s plan was not just the worse plan, but it was… impossible.

It was a big lie—Satan’s greatest lie. It never would have worked. Even if Heavenly Father had given him his full cooperation, Satan never would have been able to have gotten it to work, much less pulled it off. It was nothing more than propaganda. His plan conflicted with governing laws; it was in direct violation of eternal laws.

He tried to get some glory another way, persuading other spirits to follow and honor him like a king. (It never really was about them, just about him. It worked—kind of. It got him some followers, but I don’t know about the glory part…) That got them all kicked out of heaven, and Satan became the king of the fallen ones, the spirits that would not get bodies, an important part of eternal progress.

Satan and his followers’ misery et. al. forces them to try to get others on earth to follow them and be miserable, too; trying to force others to follow Satan’s will and give him glory by obeying him instead of God. (Hey, who cares if love isn’t a part of it, eh?!)

So, one of the first steps when dealing with “plans” (or in clearer words, propaganda): would it even work? Would it even be feasible, for PC or non-PC reasons? Is it in violation of eternal principles?

“Book of Mormon: Lessons from 1 Nephi 18: Binding the Prophets” by grego

Book of Mormon: Lessons from 1 Nephi 18: Binding the Prophets


In 1 Nephi 18, Laman and Lemuel get angry with and bind Nephi:
10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me…
19 …and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Summary: Nephi is a prophet, and says things that Laman and Lemuel don’t like to hear, so they bind him. The connected result is that the Liahona stops working. Then, not knowing where to go, they enter a storm, which grows worse and worse; about to die, they unbind Nephi; he prays, and voila, the Liahona works, and the storm stops.

I have heard many say that they don’t believe the prophets, and speak against them, but they still pray and read the scriptures and feel the Spirit.

Nope, not really. A little, maybe, but not like they’d be able to if they humbled themselves and listened to the prophets.

It’s like Laman and Lemuel, binding the prophet and disregarding the commandments, advice, and pleas of him, the prophet Lehi, those faithful to Nephi, the prophet, and innocent people suffering from their actions—and then expecting the Liahona to keep working.

It doesn’t work that way.

When you figuratively bind the prophet, prayer and the scriptures will stop working, too, as will everything else truly spiritual.

We suffer the same consequences as Laman and Lemuel, too, that we are left to our own survival, not knowing God’s will and progressing to where He wants to bless us.

My advice: don’t bind the prophets!!

2010, December 22

“Book of Mormon: What Do John Sorenson’s ‘War and Seasons’ Establish?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: What Do John Sorenson’s ‘War and Seasons’ Establish?”


About Sorenson and his warfare seasons… OK, lots of Lamanites lived in the wilderness and ate meat that they hunted. Well, ok, we only know that from the beginning, not after they took over the Nephite cities (in the time of Mosiah I). So at least some of them—the more ferocious part, and more likely the ones who would be involved in fighting wars—are not tied to harvesting–at least not as much as the Nephites seemed to be.

The Nephites cultivate and raise meat.

Any suggestions? That part just doesn’t make sense to me. Now, if you’re talking about lowland and highland, and rain and soggy land and tents, that might be something different…

Before going further, here’s a summary of the issue, found at:
Seasonality of Warfare
A fascinating issue on climate is the seasons of war described in the Book of Mormon, mostly between Alma 9 and Alma 47. Several examples provide specific months and days of the battle (e.g., Alma 16:1). Many others indicate the general time of year (e.g., Alma 44:22–24). In over 30 places, war action is described as taking place near the end or beginning of the year. Sorenson has compiled information from the text about the month of the year various military skirmishes are mentioned. Almost all occur between the 11th and 3rd months, with a small number reported in the 4th, 5th, and 10th months, and none mentioned in the 6th through 9th months.[1] Why this pattern?

Interestingly, the text also makes reference to cultivation of food a number of times in the 4th through 9th months. The problem of getting food to the troops is mentioned as a concern mainly in the twelfth through second months. Thus it seems that the harvest may have been in months 10 through 12. The Nephite “agricultural year” seems, then, to proceed like this:
* Cultivation of fields: months 4-9
* Main harvest: months 10-12
* Time of warfare: mainly months 11-3.

Warfare Insights from the Text
This leads to several insights:
* since the armies were largely made of ordinary citizens (like reservists) who were largely farmers, they were not available for warfare except after the harvest (see Alma 53:7);
* since an army moves on its stomach, fighting is most easily carried out when food supplies are most available, which would be after the harvest;
* the Book of Mormon shows remarkable accuracy (and internal consistency) in dealing with the ancient relationship between agriculture and warfare.

But how do Nephite months correspond to ours? In Mesoamerica, May though September is the best time for growing crops (heat and moisture are most available). October through April is fairly dry.
We also know that before Columbus, military campaigns in Central America occurred mainly between late October and February (again, farmers were then free of agricultural duties and food could be gathered—or seized as plunder).
Likewise, soggy land from heavy rains would be drier and more passable (and made living in tents easier).
These considerations lead Sorenson and others to conclude that the Nephite year may have begun in late December, perhaps with the winter solstice (Dec. 21/22), as did many other ancient peoples.[2]


Note that all wars were, of course, started by the Lamanites, and always consisted of the Lamanites attacking the Nephites in Nephite lands. So all the Nephite side of the equation in all this can be pretty much eliminated (unless the Lamanites had a strong desire to take the food as war spoils).

Strategy session–If you wanted to conquer a people, would you do it when they had food, or not?

Have food: attack during the “off” season, when the Nephites are loaded with just-harvested crops and supplies, and have nothing to do (except defend against the Lamanites); take the food as war spoils.
Don’t have food: attack sometime between plants coming up and before harvest—trample the fields, starve the Nephites and their families, lower morale, fight fewer and famished Nephites, make them weaker for further attack or leaving their lands (as in Mosiah 1). Then, when you conquer them, you take their food as war spoils—not once, but as long as they are under your servitude.


Anything in the text support either side of this argument?

In the story of Zeniff,the Lamanite king takes food spoils. Whoops—but that’s after the people are conquered).
The Lamanites trample much of the Nephite food (Alma 4:2).

When would the Lamanies hunt: spring and summer, fall, winter? During “main harvest” and “time of warfare” seasons.

Of course, this is all based on the big assumption of Mesoamerica being the Book of Mormon/ Nephite lands.

Conclusion? Inconclusive evidence.

“Book of Mormon: Three Chances to Repent” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Three Chances to Repent”


The Nephites, hard as they were, were still given three great chances to repent when they could/ should have been destroyed; when they passed on those opportunities, and started the fourth war, the judgments of the Lord came upon them.

Starting at the second:
Mormon 3:7 And it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and first year the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us; and it came to pass that in that year we did beat them, insomuch that they did return to their own lands again.
8 And in the *three hundred and sixty and second year they did come down again to battle. And we did beat them again, and did slay a great number of them, and their dead were cast into the sea.
9 And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies.
10 And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.
11 And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.
12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.
13 *And thrice have I delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and they have repented not of their sins.*
14 And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying:
15 Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; and because this people repented not after I had delivered them, behold, they shall be cut off from the face of the earth.
16 And it came to pass that I utterly refused to go up against mine enemies; and I did even as the Lord had commanded me; and I did stand as an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things which I saw and heard, according to the manifestations of the Spirit which had testified of things to come.

2010, December 8

Critique of the LDS/ Mormon Movie ‘The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd'” by grego

Critique of the LDS/ Mormon Movie ‘The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd'”

(c)2007; published 2010 here

Years ago, I had heard about a movie about Christ that would replace Legacy in the Temple Square Visitor Center. I thought it was going to be something really different.

It was, but not in *that* sense. I thought it would be much more “spiritual”, more moving, etc. Is it worthy of being compared to Legacy? I don’t know about that…

The movie is “The Testaments (of One Fold and One Shepherd)”. The release date was March 2000.

I was… surprised. When I first saw it seven years after its release, I thought it was that horrible Book of Mormon film everyone was talking about, or the one that was bad, but not horrible. But then I remembered that those movies were about Nephi, not the coming of Christ.

So, seeing it being shown in the distribution center, I figured it must have been an official Church film. Yeah, it was.

It looked so… corny. Fake. Weird. Even worse. The acting would never win an Oscar. It looked like everyone was covered in soot the whole time. The conversation was… interesting. It reminded me of a road show-type production. Or maybe like a Hollywood/ Jehovah Witness/ Evangelical production, with the LDS story and Spirit.

However, overall, at the same time, the movie was… kind of cool.

From the man who played Christ:
“When I finally came to the studio in Provo for the screen test, I was interviewed by Elder Neil L. Andersen. Two of the questions he asked me were, ‘Have you ever been naked on stage’? and ‘Have you ever been involved in something with heavy homosexuality’?”
Learning from past mistakes, I guess? Anyway, I still think that was a great Joseph Smith in Legacy!

The setting—“somewhere in the Americas”—seems to be a Mayan setting (complete with scriptures in glyphs!). Someone was obviously not thinking New York, or Northern Hemisphere model… Zarahemla city square, judgment seat, villages, etc. And wow! There was even a wheel-less chariot! (I don’t know what would have been so hard about putting a horse or two in the caravan, though…)

I researched a little, and found that a completed script—with a little wiggle room—had been prepared by a committee and handed to the director. Other statements by the director led me to believe that perhaps there was more than just a little wiggle room, though–perhaps even very liberal artistic license. Whichever way, it seems the whole thing was approved.

Having the entire Book of Mormon to work with, and a plethora of scripture about Christ in it, I had imagined a story with a lot more about scripture, prophecy over time, etc. But there was very little of that other than a few scripture readings—about things that happened right before Christ appeared.

And that was what shocked me. I wondered if perhaps this movie was meant more for the members, than for the non-member visitors.

The story centered quite a bit on a “NEW WORLD ORDER”. The “Gadianton robbers” or “secret combination” “The brotherhood” came up a few times. There is talk by the really bad guys about “the times are a changing, the old ways are crumbling, we need a king,” etc.

Wow! A Temple Square movie centered on the most ancient conspiracy, the one that proved the overthrow of both the Jaredite and Nephite nations, and the most threatening one right now!! Related to our times! And I didn’t even know it for over seven years!

“Book of Mormon: Alma in Ammonihah as a Type of Christ” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma in Ammonihah as a Type of Christ

(c)2008(?), posted here 2010

Alma is the chief judge of the Nephites, but leaves his judgment seat to save the people (see Alma 4:19).

He is the great high priest among a people who live under false priests (see Alma 13).

He has a few believers who are persecuted and killed (see Alma 14:1,7-14).

Yet, the majority of the people he is sent to save are angry with him (see Alma 14:2), take him before their little itsy-bitsy false priesthood chief judge (see Alma 14:16) to be judged illegally and unjustly, and that chief judge passes illegal and unfair judgment (see Alma 14).

The chief judge then makes Alma suffer the agony of watching others die; Alma is willing to suffer the will of the Lord in all things (see Alma 14:13); and then Alma is taken to prison, where they will kill him.

He is questioned, but says nothing (see Alma 14:17, 18, 19); he is mocked, smitten, and spit upon (Alma 14:20-25); before they kill him (I strongly suppose), at the lowest point, his faith in Christ delivers him from bonds (see Alma 14:26) and death, and he “rises up” out of the prison ruins (see Alma 14:28-29).

I see a type of Christ in this.

“Jesus Christ Is the Savior: Seeing Is Not Believing, Science Is Not Believing” by grego

Jesus Christ Is the Savior: Seeing Is Not Believing, Science Is Not Believing

(c) 2010

If Jesus stood in front of you, and you saw Him with your own eyes… would that prove He was the Savior?

If Jesus stood in front of you, what scientific experiment could you do, to prove He was the Savior?

I have heard many people say, “If only I could see Him, then I’d believe. If only I could see proof. If only I could experiment…”

And what would you believe? That He existed? And??

Even if you saw the nail prints, and the spear wound, what would that “prove”? Would that really prove that He is the Savior?

I imagine there will always be only one answer for knowing that Jesus Christ is the Savior–being open to and believing the Holy Ghost (and God the Father’s) testifying that He is, then experiencing it, then seeing the eternal effects/ outcomes.

“Another Aspect of the Atonement of Jesus Christ I’ve Never Heard” by grego

Another Aspect of the Atonement of Jesus Christ I’ve Never Heard


I was thinking about another aspect of the Atonement that I don’t remember hearing before (though that’s not saying a real lot).

I think it’s the grief of knowing that after all the sins were paid for, there were still so many more that he didn’t have to pay for, because others would have to pay for their own sins, because they wouldn’t accept his gift of the atonement and repent. He had offered himself as a sacrifice, but only some would take advantage of it. He must have felt great when it was done, but grief that so many had still rejected/ rejected/ would still reject his offer to take advantage of his offering and blessings.

2010, December 2

“Mormon/ LDS Prophets: Was Joseph Fielding Smith Speaking as a Divinely-Inspired Prophet when He Said Men Wouldn’t Make It to the Moon, and Was He Wrong?” by grego

Mormon/ LDS Prophets: Was Joseph Fielding Smith Speaking as a Divinely-Inspired Prophet when He Said Men Wouldn’t Make It to the Moon, and Was He Wrong?


Many people use President Joseph Fielding Smith’s quote about men not going to the moon as proof that prophets are fallible/ they can be wrong (or that Mormon prophets are wrong, or that…). (Of course members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t believe prophets are infallible in thought, word, or deed, but…)

In 1961, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Joseph Fieding Smith, said:
“We will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it… The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.”

Then, in Answers to Gospel Questions Vol 2 under Chapter(or Question) 43: Guided Missiles and Interplanetary Travel, he wrote (p. 191):
“When man was placed on this earth it became his probationary, or mortal home. Here he is destined to stay until his earth-life is completed….There is no prophecy or edict ever given that mortals should ever should seek dominions beyond this earth while they dwell in mortality. Here we are, and here we should be content to stay. All this talk about space travel and the visiting of other worlds brings to mind vividly an attempt long ago made by foolish men who tried to build to heaven.”
“The Lord will permit men to go just so far and no farther; and when they get beyond the proper bounds he will check them.”

President Smith probably had in mind these verses in Abraham 3 in the Pearl of Great Price, where the Lord is speaking to Abraham:
5 And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night [the moon], is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning [the earth], for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years.
6 And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest [the earth], and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day [the sun], and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night [the moon].
7 Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest.
8 And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still;
9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
17 Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and *the moon be above the earth*, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.

These verses seem to indicate that the moon is at a greater level/ in a higher dominion than the earth, which is likely the reason for Elder Smith’s reasoning about man never going to the moon.

And yet, it is “common knowledge” that American astronauts have been to the moon.

Though I can’t find a good source for this (and every anti-Mormon source has the same wording), it is said that “after Apollo 15’s journey to the moon, the astronaut team brought JFS a Utah State Flag that they had taken with them to the moon. They gave him the flag in 1971 as a token of his ‘failed prophecy’.” Interesting… act? motive? What were the exact words they used? I’m interested in knowing.

However, after looking at the evidence, I believe that there is a conspiracy regarding men going to the moon. I am at the conclusion that man never stepped on the moon, nor even got near it. I’ll explain a little about conspiracies, then about why I believe that.

As with most conspiracies, most people accept the “official story” pretty much as told them (as for others, see my article on 9/11 in the Book of Mormon). Most people, including Mormons/ LDS, will never accept “It isn’t true” without a very plausible unofficial version in it’s place, no matter how ludicrous the “official story” might be. Finding the “real story” and proving it the best possible often requires a long and difficult process which might not ever be finished. Unfortunately, if it is accomplished, by that time, either everyone has become habituated about the “official story” and unwilling to budge no matter how strong the evidence, or no one cares anymore… (For example, there are plenty of government documents released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) backing up many conspiracies that conspirators denied—and sometimes still deny!—for years.)

The first part is discovering what in the “official story”, exactly, are the real problems from all the possibilities. Much like solving a puzzle or a mystery, that discovery takes time and will necessarily include many false leads and errors.

At the same time, pro-conspirators (at different levels), sometimes posing as pretend anti-conspiracists, release fake “discoveries” about the conspiracy that cast the investigation in a bad light.

Both the worst of the false leads and errors, and the fake discoveries, are prime targets for being chosen by the conspirators and being put on public display as “examples of the other side”, then most easily dismissed to prove that the anti-conspirators just don’t have any grounds for disbelieving, and are nutcases. For example, the website, “proving” its fairness and “scientism”, provides a list of “We didn’t go to the moon” websites to balance its “We did go to the moon” websites.
Does the lopsidedness of the number, and explanations of the websites, affect the viewers expecting fairness? Of course.
Is it random chance that most of the sites on the “didn’t” list have rebuttals in the “did” list, but perhaps not vice-versa? I doubt it.
Do you think the best “didn’t” websites were chosen for that list? I doubt it. For example, conspicuously absent is–some of the most heated debates have been between its website owner (Dave Cosnette) and members of the website, and it seems Dave is winning. So why isn’t—for fairness—put first on the “didn’t” list? Hmmm…
It seems there is a pro-moon hidden agenda there.

I’ve found that most “official stories” have very good answers (at least in the mind of the generally-unquestioning public) and often “back-up” answers for much of what the anti-conspiracists see as problems.

For example, the “we did go to the moon” conspirators could “admit” years later that “well, we really did go to the moon, but most of the photos and film were of such bad quality, we did take a few photos and shoot some film in the studio for better PR and to show everyone what it would realistically have looked like”. And there go the majority of the problems with the photos and film, right out the window, by a plausible small admission that would ruffle few public feathers.

Eyewitnesses can be silenced (in many ways, see my 9/11 in the Book of Mormon article), and the public kept in ignorance of many of the problems in the “official story”.

Even with plenty of evidence that the conspiracy’s “official story” is full of holes and a conspiracy is evident (blue skies, stars, doctored or fake photos and film, etc.), most people will still not believe unless there is a “smoking gun” (of course, the more the better). And fortunately for most conspiracies, there is at least one. In this about men going to the moon: is there a conspiracy, and if so, what is the best “smoking gun”?

The Van Allen radiation belts.

Notice that in most discussions about going to the moon, they are never discussed by the pro-moon people, even being amazingly absent from the astronauts.

What are the Van Allen radiation belts?
I’ll let you read about them here:
(Start at the “Radiation” section (about half-way down the page); if you’re interested, read the “33 Things” section (about 4/5 near the bottom of the page). Then, head over to for more on radiation. And here’s a pretty humorous one (a little adult language in this series): .

So, it’s clearly impossible that not only did astronauts get to the moon, and film it, but that so many are still healthily alive years later.

Which means that the example of Joseph Fielding Smith’s words regarding men on the moon are not just a very poor example to choose to prove that Mormon prophets fail in prophecy, but a “shoot self in foot” example.

(I must say, I love the part on this site: that says: “Bart Sibrel’s website with a “smoking gun” video proving we never went to the Moon… sold for a price. Surprise!”—as if being paid for work were a bad thing. Wait! In the left column, opposite this comment, is a “Bad Astronomy” t-shirt for sale, under a heading: “Buy My Stuff”. What?? The irony…)

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