Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Lessons from Crop Circles

The art of crop circles fascinates me. I wanted to share the link just for the fun of it, but being an LDS blogger, I feel driven to say something of a religious nature, however corny. So here goes: Regarding crop circles, are there moral or theological lessons we can learns from this controversial exercise in human creativity?

Playing the anti-Mormon's advocate for a moment, I could draw an analogy to the Book of Mormon and note how easy it is for humans to fabricate elaborate works that fool others. I could suggest that the Book of Mormon, though intricate, complex, and beautiful, was fabricated by human hands just as crop circles were (human feet, to be slightly more correct). The argument is a little too generous, for many critics would rather dismiss it as a rough, crude, ridiculous fabrication rather than recognize its artistry, but let's overlook that for now.

Could the Book of Mormon be a spiritual crop circle? Frankly, no. Crop circles generated a lot of speculation about their origins, but the actual origins of the circles were eventually exposed in great detail. Participants broke their silence and revealed that they were just duping people. Others determined the details of crop circle manufacture, providing non-mysterious explanations that accounted for every aspect of crop circles. Others were able to duplicate the effort and create equivalent or superior works. It takes talent and planning, but it can be done by almost anyone.

None of this applies to the Book of Mormon, where critics still cannot account for the details of its origins. Some say it was a stupid and ridiculous fraud from an uneducated farm boy, but in light of further evidence about the strength of the text and its remarkable consistency and sophistication, that explanation made no sense. Critics then looked to intelligent and scholarly allies who secretly may have helped Joseph plagiarize from a variety of sources. All of these theories have failed and lack any plausible substantiation. None of them can explain the powerful and consistent testimony of many witnesses, who remained true to their story of divine origins to the end of their lives and never came forward like crop-circle makers to explain how it was all done. Even ignoring the witnesses (the only reasonable course for our critics), the more we learn about the Book of Mormon and ancient Semitic writings, the more difficult it becomes to explain the origins of the Book of Mormon based on plagiarism from anything available in the nineteenth century.

So if the Book of Mormon is a spiritual crop circle, we are left without a plausible explanation for its origin - and any theory based on UFOs won't fly either (in spite of the crazed Godmakers gang who try to say we worship aliens instead of God and Jesus Christ). The Book of Mormon is a marvelous work and a wonder, as Isaiah prophesied (Is. 29), but not a work of the crop circle variety. Rather, it's a divine work, another testament of Jesus Christ, a second witness with the Bible for the divinity of Jesus Christ, brought forth by the power of God, not crafty men. That book is the reason I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and one of the reasons I can truly say that I know that my Redeemer lives.

Well, enjoy the inspiring crop circle art - but I hope you'll enjoy the even more inspiring art and majesty of the Book of Mormon, an inspired text that can run circles around anything crafted by mere mortals alone.

11 comments:

danithew said...

Wow ... those crop circle patterns are really quite beautiful? What in the world are those farmers up to?

Interesting analogy by the way ...

K Jones said...

Loved the analogy. I have a degree in anthropology and anthropologist like to throw their slings and arrows at the BoM all the time, but ultimately the test of the BoM is the reading, pondering and praying to know of its truthfulness. Not too scientific, I know, but justifiably accurate and the only way to know of a surety.

Mike Clark said...

"...but the actual origins of the circles were eventually exposed in great detail. Participants broke their silence and revealed that they were just duping people..."

Yes, it was really interesting that those two Brits finally admitted that they were the ones who had fabricated thousands of crop circles all over the world for the past ten, twenty or thirty years, or more, and must still be keeping up with it as a hobby.

It's not those two Brits, and there's no real explanation for the majority of the circles, and they keep getting more and more ornate. Not saying there's anything supernatural about them (though it could be, maybe), but the publicized explanation is more a hoax than the circles themselves, IMHO.

Peter said...

Has anyone ever seen a picture of a half-completed crop circle?

Or has anyone ever been caught in the act of making one of the really intricate ones?


Just one of those HMMMMM things.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff

You need to do some more research on crop circles. MAYBE a human could lay down some of the patterns, but the way the stalks are melted and bent over, and the way the stalks are woven as they're bent over, plus the magnetic and electrical effects.....Sorry, they're not all man made.

Buy a few books and read them before you dismiss them as being made by Doug and Dave.

nzmagpie said...

Forget "crop circles". if you want to find evidence for aliens/extra-terrestrials, go the John E Mack Institute website.

http://www.johnemackinstitute.org/center/center_news.asp?id=260

Study the article about the Ariel elementary school in Zimbabwe and see if you're convinced. I dismissed this stuff outright before I saw the documentary, but now I'm completely open to the idea.

lb said...

The fact that crop circles remain a mystery means your initial analogy was closer than you thought. At one time such unexplained phenomena were called miracles. It is only relatively simple ones whose construction has been demonstrated. The existence of counterfeit currency does not mean all currency is counterfeit.

Let us appreciate mysteries for what they are.

Ania Rodriguez said...
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lb said...
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Ania Rodriguez said...
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Anonymous said...

Hidden plates with cryptic inscriptions? Sound familiar?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL6Jq31QIKo