Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, November 20

“Book of Mormon and Intellectualism: Friends or Foes?”

“Book of Mormon and Intellectualism: Friends or Foes?”

(c) 2009

I write intellectual articles on the Book of Mormon. (How intellectual, is up to me, the article, the reader, and the connection…)

So do some others.

I have read some very deep and interesting websites that talk about the Book of Mormon; actually, fascinating.

I loved (and still do) going to the FARMS site and reading about more discoveries in the Book of Mormon, even though lately, there has been a lot of trash talk by some that taints it all.

Most Book of Mormon are about everything but the intellectual side of it. I believe they are valuable… also.

Much better than my Book of Mormon class for returned missionaries at BYU, from which I think I learned two or three things the entire semester, taught by a non-intellectual Book of Mormon teacher. Attending a UVSC institute class, I was surprised when a student asked a simple intellectual question and the many-years teacher didn’t have a clue as to the answer. Still, that same thing happened in a Humanities Western Civilization class… So, sometimes there’s so much, you (or a religion professor) can’t know it all–even perhaps the simpler things. And when there is only so much time in a class period or a semester, I agree that it’s more important to stress testimony, etc.


You can’t really understand it without the intellectual. There are some incredible things in the Book of Mormon most of us will never find in this life. It’s a very “ontologically-deep” book (from a BYU English professor, though maybe not in reference to the BoM).

I am often in the top 10 in Google search for some pretty LDS/ Mormon basic phrases and keywords.

Very few visitors.

Very, very few.

Sure, it could be…

Or it could be, no one is searching, because no one really cares.

I know there is hazard in “intellectual” things, be it apostasy or contention. For example, my previous bishop believes in the Adam-God theory, teaches it to his family, and tried convincing my dad of it. Um, anti-scriptural… (See my post on that.)

Which is interesting–sometimes the more intellectual “it” is tried to be made out as, the more problems there are with it, intellectually.

There are also levels to intellectualism that are difficult.

The first level tells one thing–the really basic things “we all get”.

One level up from that, the second level, teaches more of something, goes deeper, required more reading and meditation…

But the level beyond that, the third level, teaches something very different, that sometimes even makes the previous level obsolete.

And in fact, it is often because of a very simplistic reading of the text–a first level action–coupled with lots and lots of rereading and meditation–that the third level comes forth.

It seems there is usually a plateau between each level, too, that requires an “upgrade” to surmount–light, desire, a thirst, reading and meditation, doing, mentoring by the Holy Ghost and probably even other humans.

You can’t skip a level in understanding.

And, you can’t go from primer level to second level, or from first level to third level.

And all that is part of the problem.

Here’s a short quiz: Most LDS/ Mormons are at the _(?) level in their Book of Mormon intellectual understanding.

Most people had a hard time getting up to the second level; and now they are supposed to leave that behind and go to the third level??

Says the LDS/ Mormon: “Intellectualism changes. ‘Truth’ doesn’t. Therefore, t>i. Period.” Right?

Part of the problem is that the third level often clashes with the second, which was seen as much deeper and more spiritual than the first level. And frankly, the third level doesn’t seem very spiritual sometimes.

A few of my articles have caused extreme emotional reactions in people who were past the first level, but unwilling to get past the second. Most of it goes back to psychology–”I’ve learned something, and now you’re saying it’s all wrong? And all those comments I made in Sunday School, showing my wisdom and learning?? and in my posts?? and my favorite general authority was wrong?? and the prophet was wrong??!!”

So, I think intellectual studies about the Book of Mormon are often not only seen as unnecessary or “getting in the way of” the real meaning and purpose of the BoM–the spiritual part–they are often seen as divisive instead of uniting, and the command to “be one” is a higher command…

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