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Sunday, January 08, 2012

DNA and the Book of Mormon: Rejecting an Absurd Oversimplication

Critics of the Book of Mormon want the world to think that it requires nothing but Jewish ancestry for all Native Americas. This is an "absurd simplification," per Nibley in a passage quoted below. In fact, the account of the Jaredites in the Book of Ether points to Asiatic origins for an ancient migration. Though Ether saw a great battle with few survivors as the Jaredite civilization collapsed, the Book of Mormon provides subtle hints that Jaredite influence remained in population groups that mixed with the Nephites and Lamanites.

As Hugh Nibley explained in 1952, in an article printed in the official publication of the Church at the time, the Book of Mormon identified Asia as a source for ancient Native Americans long before anthropologists did. The essay was "The World of the Jaredites," Improvement Era, Vol. 55, June 1952, from which I quote:

That account [the Book of Ether in the Book of Mormon] tells us that at the very dawn of history, many thousands of years ago, a party of nomad hunters and stock raisers from west central Asia crossed the water--very probably the North Pacific--to the New World, where they preserved the ways of their ancestors, including certain savage and degenerate practices, and carried on a free and open type of steppe warfare with true Asiatic cruelty and ferocity; it tells us that these people moved about much in the wilderness, for all they built imposing cities, and that they produced a steady trickle of "outcasts" through the centuries. A careful study of the motions of the Jaredites, Mulekites, Nephites, and Lamanites should correct the absurd oversimplification by which the Book of Mormon as a history is always judged. It will show as plain as day that the Book of Mormon itself first suggests the Asiatic origin of some elements at least of the Indian race and culture long before the anthropologists got around to it. The scientists no longer hold that one migration and one route can explain everything about the Indians. The Book of Mormon never did propound a doctrine so naive. Though it comes to us as a digest and an abridgment, stripped and streamlined, it is still as intricate and complex a history as you can find; and in its involved and tragic pages nothing is more challenging than the sinister presence of those fierce and bloody-minded "Men out of Asia" known in their day as Jaredites....

I think by now it should be apparent that the Book of Mormon account is not as simple as it seems. Ether alone introduces a formidable list of possibilities, few of which have ever been seriously considered. Foremost among these is the probability, amounting almost to certainty, that numerous Jaredites survived in out-of-the-way places of the north to perpetuate a strong Asiatic element in the culture and blood of the American Indian.

[emphasis mine]

Thus, given that the apparently Asiatic Jaredites were on the continent long before the Nephites, and given that other migrations from Asia are permitted by the Book of Mormon, finding evidence of mostly Asiatic genes in the Americas does not necessarily pose a problem for the Book of Mormon. This understanding of the Book of Mormon (the Jaredites as an Asiatic migration, and the possibility of other migrations from Asia being allowed by the Book of Mormon) is not one just recently concocted to deal with recent DNA evidence--it was printed in the official Church periodical decades before critics used DNA evidence to attack a common misreading of the Book of Mormon. In fact, even if we were to erroneously conclude that the ONLY ancient migrations to the New World are those described in the Book of Mormon, the heavy presence of Asian genes in Native Americans could still be compatible with the apparently Asian origins of the ancient Jaredites, whose descendants may have spread across the continent and obviously were present in Book of Mormon lands in Mesoamerica even after Ether saw their central groups wiped out in a bloody civil war.


See my LDSFAQ page on the issue of DNA and the Book of Mormon for further details.

In Bob Bennet's surprisingly good and highly readable book about the Book of Mormon, Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon, he quotes the above passage from Nibley and further argues that the Book of Mormon should be given credit for pointing to an ancient Asian link in the gene pool of the Americas long before science established that connection. Interesting.

Bennet also makes the point that while the story of the Jaredites plays an important and pervasive background role in the Book of Mormon, the Book of Ether itself makes little sense from the perspective of a forger trying to craft something that will sell. All risk and difficulty with little to gain--would have been much better and more logical for a forger to just leave that out and stick with more familiar topics and themes. It's boring, dry, highly condensed, sketchy, and utterly different from the rest of the text in terms of culture and behaviors. For careful readers of the Book of Mormon, though, it plays a vital role and adds subtlety and dimensions of meaning that pervade the rest of the text. One example is the recently noticed relationship between ancient Jaredite names and later rebels within the Nephite people, suggesting that indigenous remnants of Jaredite culture brought in under Nephite rule were important sources for political and religious rebels like Corianton. Again, interesting. One of those subtleties that make sense if the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient record that is, after all, "smarter" than Joseph Smith.

Oops, I diverged from the topic again. OK, back to DNA. If you've got some, be grateful. And if you or anyone else like, say, a Native American friend, has some Asian DNA, again, be grateful. It's great stuff and is no reason to let your faith be shaken up.

91 comments:

Openminded said...

"...a list of possibilities, few of which have ever been seriously considered."

Let's be very upfront about something.

No one has any reason to accept the Ether account of how the Jaredites came to the Americas. It is beyond absurd to think that it happened in the fashion described in that BoM, and any serious consideration about it usually results in talking about how absolutely impossible it is for a group of people to survive nearly a year at sea in one of those entirely impractical quasi-submarine vessels.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Surviving on a long journey across the ocean simply could not have happened? Crude ships have survived long journeys for many months in the ancient history of sailing. This one, in spite of the skimpy textual description--had divine help in the engineering and preparations. Sure, it could have gotten there faster, but the journey itself was part of the refiners fire for these people. How can you demonstrate that survival would have been impossible? There are some good questions to ask about their water supply especially, but with a little engineering, I think we can fill in the gaps. Might not even need a nuclear powered distillation unit after all.

Papa D said...

I think it's truly ironic that the "principle ancestors" belief might have been correct but mistakenly applied to the wrong people. I've said for a long time that Joseph didn't understand the words in the actual book very well - certainly not as well as most "authors" know their stories.

As to the journey as described, as a history teacher, I have read plenty of accounts of accepted journeys that aren't all that different.

Also, we have almost NO description of what the barges looked like - except that they were tight enough to not draw water and could be closed off from being inundated by water. They were "small" (which is an obviously relative term), and they were "the length of a tree" (which tells us next to nothing about their actual length), but there is nothing whatsoever about their width or height. There also is nothing - absolutely nothing - that describes their shape, other than that they were "peaked" at the ends. Finally, they were called "barges" in the translation, which brings me to my last point.

Calling them "quasi-submarine vessels" doesn't match at all what is described in the verses themselves - especially since it is clear that they didn't spend most of their time under water (or even long periods of time). The vast majority of their time was spent being "driven by the wind" - and it was spent "upon" the water.

Again, if you're going to call it impossible, at least quote exactly what you think was impossible.

Glenn Thigpen said...

The narrative of the Jaredite journey is so sparse as to tell us next to nothing about the route that was taken or any events that might have taken place, such as stopovers, etc. With the few details that we have available, making a categorical statement of impossibility might be just a bit presumptuous.

Glenn

Darren said...

RE: Front Page;

If you've got some, be grateful.


I've got DNA and I'm grateful for it!!!! ;>)

Darren said...

one of those entirely impractical quasi-submarine vessels.

What was impractical? Granted, not very cozy but they were functional to get from point A to point B which seemed to be God's main purpose for the Jaredites.

Openminded said...

Jeff,
"Crude ships have survived long journeys for many months in the ancient history of sailing."

This was 340 days, and the passengers weren't all human. Flocks and herds and whatever also needed water. The situation becomes even more absurd when looking at the fact that they were underwater quite frequently (as explored in my reply to Papa D)

Papa D,
Maybe if I was some typical anti-mormon, I'd pretend things were in the BoM that really aren't. however, in Ether 6:
"And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them..."

"...And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being atight like unto a dish...therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters."

in Ether 2:
"For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea;"

"Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

Quasi-submarine. Obviously intended for the top of the ocean, but also entirely capable of being underwater.

And they were underwater, as described in the text, which really does away with the hole idea behind having an "air hole", which would certainly have to have been more than your average miracle if one air hole was supposed to supply air for the entire barge--filled with people and animals--especially considering it was plugged for the duration of the time spent underwater. Don't forget all the excreting that'd be going on, which contributes to poor air quality. and disease.

The logistics of it all just become absurd.

Dave D said...

I think it was Nibley that pointed out that one of the most ancient stories of the flood found in Sumerian texts talks about the ark of Noah being peaked on the ends (and closed tight I think) and lighted by glowing stones. And it was supposedly on the water for a year with possibly a whole lot more animals aboard. Somehow they survived the year on the water (and maybe under the water/waves at times too).

Since Jared and his group were from a time when Noah's son, Shem, was still alive, you wonder if they used some ideas about the ark they learned second hand from a good source when constructing the ships - or the Lord built on what they already were familiar with.

Openminded said...

Dave,
I don't mean to open this can of worms, but the story of noah's ark realtes so highly to the story in the epic of gilgamesh that it's likely that the story in Genesis came straight from it.

The two stories are followed point by point, and in the same order--but with different gods and a few minor detail differences. you can see the gilgamesh myth for yourself here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh_flood_myth


I dont want to take this into a debate about noah's ark. i'm just saying that it's pretty doubtful noah's ark ever happened.

Dave D said...

Hmmm...if the same story is told in many cultures with about the same details, it seems to me that there is a seed of truth behind those stories. What really happened is masked by the different cultural influences on the variations of the story, as well as details lost to time.

I tend to agree that the flood story as interpreted by most people is fairly implausible (or maybe just miraculous). Maybe with our limited information from the stories that have survived, we just don't know how it happened exactly. Same with the Jaredites. Some degree of faith and openmindedness is required in both stories as we only have high level summaries of both events.

Anonymous said...

No one has any reason to accept the Ether account of how the Jaredites came to the Americas. It is beyond absurd to think that it happened in the fashion described...

I think the Apollo moon landings were faked, too. I mean, seriously, it's "beyond absurd" to expect they could go to the moon and back using such primitive technology! The alleged flight computers had less capability than my wristwatch! And we knew nothing about control systems and inertial navigation back then compared to what we know now.

Jared said...

Openminded and Papa D both made quite compatible comments. Papa D said that the barges probably didn't spend most of their time under water. That is obvious from the verses Openminded quoted. Yes, they spent time under water (again "depths of the sea and "swallowed up" doesn't mean the barges were hundreds of feet down, they could have been 20-30 feet under at times, maybe even for an hour or more, depending on storms). If the barges floated at all, they would have ended up on the surface of the ocean as quickly as possible (again, except with storms and waves driving them under water - hence the prayers to go back to the surface).

The barges had air holes, they could plug them up as needed though.

However, there is a lot we do not know. The book of Ether is based on translations of 24 plates that were found. The translation was added to the gold plates with interspersed commentary. What we do know is remarkable but there is so much that we don't know that there is little point in quibbling over motes about the boats.

Besides, all of this about the barges was a red herring. It really doesn't address the core point of Jeff's post, which is that nothing in the Book of Mormon contradicts what little we know from anthropological studies (and in fact, much of it confirms what we have learned from science). Further, over time as science progresses, instead of giving more and more evidence contradicting the Book of Mormon, findings add to the evidence in support of the Book of Mormon. That's remarkable.

As for crude ships surviving long periods of time on the open ocean, read Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (someone who was derided for his beliefs about what was possible for ancient peoples). As a side note, I found it interesting that Thor Heyerdahl included old native American (South American) stories (legends) about great battles between light and dark skinned peoples; battles that essentially wiped out civilizations.

Anyway, there is a lot that we do not know. We can fill in gaps but we're simply extrapolating information based on logic (or illogic). Again, what's remarkable is that for a book "made up" by a young, uneducated (but brilliant, except for when critics call him stupid) farmer, we have cultural, linguistic, religious, anthropological, and more evidence to support the book with very little to no evidence that contradicts it (any lack of evidence is not contradictory evidence).

Thanks Jeff for all your brilliant posts.

JohnnyLingo62 said...

Jared, your comments are spot on! I don't think anybody has ever found the "blueprints" to the Egyptian pyramids, and if someone were to say - through oral tradition - that structures that tall and large and perfectly aligned and built with mathematical concepts few understood for a milennia later, and that are amazing to have been built even with our technology today - we would laugh at them - if they weren't still standing there for all to see.
It's too bad that wood decays. But faith according to Alma "... faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
This exercise of faith with limited hard evidence is essential to increase your ability to understand godly things.

Mateo said...

"This exercise of faith with limited hard evidence is essential to increase your ability to understand godly things."

Would this also not hold true of things which are false? I mean that same sort of reasoning is used by the fundamentalist church in regards to Warren Jeffs being a prophet, or Scientologists and their own ideas on what the afterlife is like.

Mormography said...

Ooohhh, so the BoM teachings that the Jaredites were not wiped out, but rather ended up being the principle ancestors of Native Americans. This sudden reading comprehension of the BoM shows a lack of comprehension of the critic’s argument.

I recall about 6 years ago a Mormon acquaintance used this Nibley Lehi had Asiatic blood argument with me. I just chuckled and explained to him that the critic’s argument is not that Asiatic DNA should not exist in the new world, but that there should exist an abundance of some sort of Semitic DNA. That is if the theory previously propagated by a divinely inspired leadership was factual, then the State of Israel would be reconsidering its immigration policies due to the hundreds of thousands of impoverish Latin Americans with predominate indigenous blood seeking Isareli citizenship based on their DNA. Mormanity’s response is to cop out suggesting there is no single Jewish DNA marker, in other words, admit the critics are right only according to current understanding, but if we could just torture the definition of this or that enough the critics would be wrong.

My Mormon acquaintance looked down dejected with the realization that what he thought was a foolproof response was indeed not. I told him not to worry, that if he was looking for a foolproof response, that a talented apologist would have simply argued like so: God modified Lamanite DNA when he changed there skin color, ergo DNA studies are pointless. He perked up, got a little excited and asked what the critic response would be to this explanation. I told him that this explanation is fine, but that the explanation requires one to accept the nature of God as deceitful, because not only did God modify their DNA, he deliberately modified it to corroborate the Bering Strait/Asiatic theories (which existed at JS’s time) as opposed to some entirely new species of human being.

A couple of days later he retorted that the Mormon’s are charitable, do not have paid clergy, blah, blah, etc. To which I told him congratulations, the Rotaries do not either, but the Rotaries do not go around saying that everyone needs the Rotary leadership and writings to go to be happy and go to Heaven.

Mormography said...

Jared/JonnyLingo,

You are right, a lack of evidence for Lord of the Rings does not contradict the story, but the recent discover of hobbit like skeletons is even more prove today that the story is “true”.

You might as well have said - over time as science progresses findings add to the evidence in support of Ignatius Donnelly Atlantis theory of the new world - which of course is an absurd statement, not at all remarkable. Your same logic requires Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrew to be more true today (what, causian Mummies in China, Ethan Smith must have been right about the ten tribes going through the Bering Strait) or the Voree Plates.

Papa D said...

Of course, Mateo, but it's beside the point. The point is that the actual account in Ether isn't patently absurd - and it's not even very different than lots of accounts that are accepted as plausible, at least, and even probable by solid, well-respected scholars.

That's all my comment asserted - that it's silly to dismiss it as "absolutely impossible".

Openminded, it's already been said by others, but I will add one more thing:

Hyperbole is nearly omni-present in ancient writings - and, as your comment illustrates, it's not dead even now. "Swallowed up" and "the depths", used in that context, tell us absolutely nothing about how deep the barges went into the water (or how long they were covered by water. Seriously, as a historian, I don't bat an eye at that kind of language - since it happens all the time in writings.

"All the world was taxed" is the easiest scriptural example, and I believe we take FAR too many things literally (with our own modern understanding of them) in our scriptures. We. just. don't. know. exactly. what. those. words. mean. in. context. I'll even add, "Period." - if that will help emphasize my point.

Having said all of that, it's not the main point of Jeff's post - and you've dodged his main point very well by changing the topic. I'm dropping this threadjack now, so, hopefully, we can get back to the very valid point Jeff made in the post.

Papa D said...

Mormography, your acquaintance's assertions about DNA changing were stupid and not believed by anyone here, I hope, nor by the VAST majority of Mormons.

As to the Jaredites, I revert once more to my time as a history teacher. There are LOTS of examples of ancient destruction narratives that chronicle the total annihilation of kingdoms - but MANY of those narratives don't describe the entire destruction of all people who originated from common ancestors. The narratives followed the "central kingdom" - since the writers were focused on the succession of leaders, not the "masses".

The Book of Ether covers thousands of years - even if we accept the timeframe of the Bible, which I don't accept automatically. It tells of those people who stayed close enough to the capital of the kingdom to remain under the control / influence of the leaders of the kingdom. It says nothing(absoutely nothing) of any people who might have left the kingdom and settled elsewhere - and it is highly unlikely, given the nomadic culture the book describes, that everyone would have settled down and stayed around to be fodder for the armies of those thow struggled to control the kingdom. Of course, they aren't mentioned, since the writers wouldn't have cared one bit about them.

It's not a stretch whatsoever to believe the descendants of the original Jaredites spread out across the continent, while the royal leaders stayed in one place and fought for power and control. That's the modus operandi for lots of ancient narratives - and it would be MUCH more implausible if the record of the kings actually made mention of them, since an obsessive focus on succession also is a hallmark of ancient "kingship narratives".

Iow, the Book of Ether doesn't even pretend to be a comprehensive history. It is a kingship narrative - and a very representative one, when analyzed as such.

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

PapaD,

What?? Stupid?? How did God change their skin color to the extend that anyone who mixed their seed with theirs would also have the curse without changing their DNA?


I am not sure if all Jaredite/BoEther stuff is direct at me or why. I merely mentioned that it is a sudden reading comprehension in response to a misunderstanding of the critics arguments. I did not called it implausible or stupid. But since you are the self declare expert of VAST majority Mormon opinion I guess we should take your word for it that any theory that competes with yours is stupid.
Until now every Mormon I have encounter has been impressed by the changing DNA explanation. You are the very, very first I have found that thinks it is “stupid”.

Darren said...

What?? Stupid?? How did God change their skin color to the extend that anyone who mixed their seed with theirs would also have the curse without changing their DNA?

Ummm, changing the skin pigmentation?

Openminded said...

Papa D,
Jeff mentioned how no one has really taken these theories about Jaredite migrations from Asia, and I was commenting about how it's because the stories are absurd.

I mean, approaching someone saying "The Jaredites came to the americas on a barge, we have an account of it!" and then saying "but, I mean, those ancient writers were pretty sensationalistic. No problem though, right?" doesn't help.

You don't just plug up the only two air holes in the boat and pretend suffocating didn't happen in such an "air tight" and confined space. Not sure Kon-Tiki had much to say about vessels that were built like that, either.

Once again, there's no reason to accept the account in Ether--which pretty much destroys any chance of an outsider taking these Jaredite migration theories seriously.

But you're right, this is getting off topic. "Oops, I diverged from the topic again. OK, back to DNA. "

Mormography said...

Darren,

Oohh, so native Americans are actually white genetically and when conceived, but are turned brown by a supernatural process in the womb, which of course is not near as stupid as actually changing the DNA (link) of one of their ancestors.

Pops said...

You don't just plug up the only two air holes in the boat and pretend suffocating didn't happen in such an "air tight" and confined space.

Please tell me this isn't a serious statement.

Suffocation occurs when oxygen runs out. That depends on the rate of consumption, the quantity of oxygen available (i.e., the size of the confined space), and the length of time the space is sealed. Show me where any of these variables is specified.

And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.

Doesn't sound like a submarine to me...

Papa D said...

Sorry, Mormography, I misread your comment somehow. I read your acquaintances argument as God having changed the DNA miraculously. I've heard that exact argument before, and I was really sloppy in my reading of your comment. I apologize sincerely.

As to the question of DNA (monster sentence and paragraph alert):

God didn't have to change the DNA of anyone. If a VERY large population of native Asiatic people spread out and covered the continent (which is an extremely plausible reading of the Book of Ether), and if a relatively small population of non-Jewish but Israelite people (about whose matriarch's lineage we know absolutely nothing) intermingled fairly early in their history with larger, indigenous populations that also might have been Asiatic in origin (which is an extremely plausible reading of the history of the Lamanites), and if an even smaller population of those same non-Jewish but Israelite people intermingled with some of that other non-Jewish but Israelite population who had intermingled with the Asiatic people (which absolutely is recorded to have happened after the appearance of Jesus in 3 Nephi and lasted for about 200 years), and then if most of that mixed population was exterminated about 200 years later (leaving very few, if any, of the original non-Jewish but Israelite population who would have been purely Israelite), and if there were other peoples led to the land of promise over thousands of years (as is stated in the BofM) who also mingled with the remaining people (which surely would have happened, if others did live on the same continent - then it is probable, not just plausible, that the descendants of those peoples mentioned in the book would have very little, if any, dominant Israelite DNA markers and lots and lots of dominant Asiatic DNA markers many hundreds of years later.

Again, there are plenty of examples throughout history of this exact thing happening - and no historian I know would argue that it's absurd, in and of itself.

Papa D said...

Also, the fact that there are very small pockets of people who have exhibited DNA markers that are consistent with possible Israelite ancestry can't be dismissed reasonably out-of-hand.

Darren said...

Mormography;

My understanding is that DNA does affect genes but genes does not necessarily affect DNA. I'm no expert but I think can inject genes into my body witout changing my DNA.

I do not suppose the mechanics of how races change or how God may have changed races on the earth. While I find it possible God may have changed the DNA of some in ancient America but I don't think that's probable. I think the DNA evidence is there but we just haven't found it as of yet.

Openminded said...

Pops,
Tell me. Do ships have the ability to be "swallowed up by the seas" or to "be brought up again from the depths of the seas"?

I said quasi-submarine, I didn't say they had the ability to submerse themselves on their own will: quasi. submarine.

Any reading of Ether 2 and 6 can't deny that this vessel went underwater and had to stay there for a period of time: God himself told them it would happen, and that he'd bring them back up from the depths of the sea.

And whatever the dimensions of the vessels are, they'd already be containing people, animals, and their food supply that will supposedly last them for 340 days. also, whatever water system they had to "engineer".

So maybe there isn't enough information to tell how long it would take to deplete the breathable air. However, it would take a miracle for this to work, and a really nonsensical one at that.

No one outside your faith could possibly take Jaredite migration, especially in the way the BoM laid it out, seriously. and i doubt everyone inside your faith takes it seriously, either. we already have Papa D appealing to hyperbole.

Mormography said...

PapaD,

Yes, I understand the position: Since the beginning of Mormonism, Native Americans have been wrongfully referred to affectionately as Lamanites. Prophecies that they would blossom as a rose must have personal opinion, not revelation, because extensive intermarriage has essentially eliminated Lamanites. Prophecies such as “ And then shall the remnant of our seed know …. that they are descendants of the Jews.” And “ that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers “ Sudden becomes Lamanites -> Jaredites/Other Asians

Cognitive dissonance is a fascinating study. From my perspective it would have been an easier transition to just dismiss DNA studies as invalid because the DNA was in fact change. But it appears reinterpreting Lamanite lineage as being so diluted it exist only statistically insignificantly trace amounts is easier for Mormons. Either way, the problem of God making things appear as they are not is the same.

Most critics would agree Mormanity’s statement in the post is an “absurd oversimplification”, but it is not the critic’s, but rather Mormanity’s own invented strawman. I am not aware of a single critic that would argue “ it requires nothing but Jewish ancestry for all Native Americas” Not only does he invent a strawman, but he then fraudulent suggests that Asiatic migrations were not theorized by science before the advent of the BoM. Oh well, this is just the type of behavior we have come to expect from Mormanity.

Papa D said...

Mormography, what I wrote matches what the BofM actually says MUCH better than the mistaken ideas of earlier Mormons. As everyone here knows who have read my comments in a lot of threads, I have no problem with fallible prophets whose beliefs about many things are wrong - even regarding what the BofM says. That is a good description of every prophet we have described in all of our scriptures, I believe, so, to me, it's not "reinterpreting" nearly as much as actually reading the account carefully.

I think the BofM has been interpreted and presented by MORMONS every bit as badly as it has been by non- and even anti-Mormons - even it it was out of ignorance and assumption. Again, as I said in an earlier comment, I think Joseph Smith himself didn't understand the book (what it actually says) very well - and he certainly didn't spend much time studying it, especially compared to the time he spent studying the Bible.

Seriously, my own take is that most Mormons have no freaking clue what the BofM actually says about lots of things - and that most Mormons haven't really stopped and thought through their incorrect assumptions about it. I don't blame non-Mormons for not understanding what it says; that's the fault of my fellow Mormons.

I started coming to this conclusion when I first read the BofM at age 7 - because I kept thinking as I read, "This isn't saying what people at church think it says." With that as my launching pad, I've had 40 years to read slowly and carefully - trying to understand for myself, without relying on others' views, what it really says. It just doesn't say what most members think it says in LOTS and LOTS of places about LOTS and LOTS of things.

Openminded, one more time:

Nobody is arguing that the "barges" didn't get submersed in the water. We get it. What you are missing is very, very simple - that we have no idea whatsoever how long they were submersed, so oxygen depletion and death simply aren't the only plausible result. They were built to withstand submersion, but they were built primarily to float - and they were built to allow air inside while they were floating.

There is nothing impossible or even implausible in the account itself. Improbable, sure - especially when the miraculous lighting method is considered. It takes extrapolation, however, to say it was impossible.

Anonymous said...

What gives me hope here is PapaD's well-considered remarks about "the mistaken ideas of earlier Mormons."

Mistaken ideas indeed! Consider such once widely held, but now apparently mistaken, ideas as the Israelite origins of Native Americans generally, the necessity of plural marriage for exaltation, the notion of Indians turning "white and delightsome" following conversion, and the "curse" that kept black men from the Melchizedek priesthood.

If the Church can abandon beliefs of such tremendous significance, then surely it can change its mind about other, equally weighty matters. A century from now, the Church might well be teaching that its scriptures are 19th-century texts written (not translated) by Joseph Smith and that gay marriages ought to be performed in the temple. Who knows? The future is a strange place.

If it sounds crazy, think of how crazy PapaD might have sounded to a Mormon of the 1870s.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

However, it would take a miracle for this to work

Say, I think you're exactly correct.

and a really nonsensical one at that

Isn't "miracle" and "nonsense" often times redundant?

Darren said...

Mormography;

Also known as the Bering Strait Theory or Beringia theory, the Land Bridge theory has been widely accepted since the 1930s. The idea was first postulated in a rudimentary fashion in 1590 by the Jesuit scholar José de Acosta.[65]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_strait_theory

Theorized, yes, but Jeff did not say it was not "theorized" before the Book of Mormon, did he?

In Bob Bennet's surprisingly good and highly readable book about the Book of Mormon, Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon, he quotes the above passage from Nibley and further argues that the Book of Mormon should be given credit for pointing to an ancient Asian link in the gene pool of the Americas long before science established that connection. Interesting.


Here Jeff wasn't eve ntalking about how the first Native americans migrated here, only that there's a genetic connection between them and Asiatic peoples. That the Book of Mormon points to this and has done so before science made their own same genetic conclusions. According to my "omniscient" source, it wasn't until the 1930s which it was "established science" as to how the Native americans first migrated to the Americas. so, even if Jeff wa talking a bout migratory methods, the Book of Mormon stories still predate the conclusions by which we're familiar with from established science.

Darren said...

A century from now, the Church might well be teaching that its scriptures are 19th-century texts written (not translated) by Joseph Smith and that gay marriages ought to be performed in the temple.

Ummm, don't count on that. Homosexuality has NEVER been considered snactified in the least by God. Er, um, the Judeo-Christians God; desite what some modern-day preachers say.

Papa D said...

"If it sounds crazy, think of how crazy PapaD might have sounded to a Mormon of the 1870s."

and many Mormons in 2012. LOL

I'm about as orthoprax as it gets, but I'm certainly not orthodox.

Mormography said...

Darren,

You forgot to also cut and past the Nibley quote with sentence emphasized by Mormanity. When you do that my statement stands.

Bytheway, the BoM does not talk about Asia or genetics. But I get it: The BoM should be given credit for containing loosely interpretative catch all theories of its time period (before anthropological/genetic “science” existed), despite the fact modern anthropology does not except the predominate theory promoted in the book. Contrary to Mormanity, that is in fact not at all interesting. But, mental gymnastics can be a very entertaining spectator sport.

Seeing how that is the only thing you could find to nick pick at, it appears I had some really good points.

Pops said...

No one outside your faith could possibly take Jaredite migration, especially in the way the BoM laid it out, seriously.

You've allowed your confirmation bias to overwhelm your reason. It's a sparse narrative and you've filled it in with your own absurdities. Let me show you how I might fill in the narrative:

The first danger of being in a sealed vessel is CO2 poisoning - it happens before the oxygen runs out. But you can extend the time by deploying lime as a CO2 scrubber. (See how easy that was?)

Openminded said...

Pops,
The absurdities come out when you look at the implications of the conditions laid out in the story.

but is god supposed to miraculously reveal this knowledge of lime as a CO2 scrubber to the Jaredites? Or were you giving another example of adding absurdities to the narrative?

Darren said...

Mormography;

Here's your original statement:

Not only does he invent a strawman, but he then fraudulent suggests that Asiatic migrations were not theorized by science before the advent of the BoM.

I showed that he did not say that such migrations werenot theorized before the Book of Mormon. Now you say:

You forgot to also cut and past the Nibley quote with sentence emphasized by Mormanity. When you do that my statement stands.


Here they are.

Bold #1: the Book of Mormon itself first suggests the Asiatic origin of some elements at least of the Indian race and culture long before the anthropologists got around to it

Bold #2: the probability, amounting almost to certainty, that numerous Jaredites survived in out-of-the-way places of the north to perpetuate a strong Asiatic element in the culture and blood of the American Indian

Where d those two statements claim that Asian migration wasn't theorized before the Book of Mormon. I think the argument was that the Bering Strait theory did not become an academic science standard until after the Book of Mormon. That much is absolutely correct.

Bytheway, the BoM does not talk about Asia or genetics.

Again, nobody says it does, at least not explicitly bt the argument is saying that there hints a connection and, yes, this connection from the Book of Mormon ocurred before today's academic standards of the Bering Strait crossing was established.

Contrary to Mormanity, that is in fact not at all interesting. But, mental gymnastics can be a very entertaining spectator sport.


If it's not interesting to you, then so be it. Who cares?

Seeing how that is the only thing you could find to nick pick at, it appears I had some really good points.

Huh? Was the purpose of this comment to simply flatter yourself? Good luck with that. If you're in need of cmpliments, just ask, I'll send you some.

Mormography said...

Darren,

Yes, yes Darren the BoM predates our modern knowledge of science. If I was playing your game I would have asked you to show where I stated that Mormanity stated things were not theorized before BoM, because I stated that he “suggests” not states. But I not interested in playing your game.

Here are the facts. The BoM does not suggest Asiatic origin. Hugh Nibley does AND! Nibley does this suggesting AFTER! the fact, not before. That is he engages in an incredibly loose and creative reinterpretation of the Book of Mormon, liberally throwing the word Asian around, only AFTER it appeared that science would forever favor an “Asian” theory. The events go chronically like so:

A. “Science” passes milestones rejecting the predominate theories of the BoM
B. Nibley loosely and creativity reinterprets the BoM to conclude with a little magical wand waving that science has actually validated the BoM. (Huh?)
C. A new technique (DNA) solidifies and refines event A.
D. Mormanity declares it “Interesting” that the BoM pointed to something (A) now established by Science (C), quite falsely suggesting that BoM had some sort of amazing insight before its time.

So, no, Darren. While the BoM may have some wiggle room for those who struggle with cognitive dissonance, it does not have any insight before science did, Nibley did not make pertinent observation about the BoM before science (as is fraudulently implied in the post), and modern science does not validate the BoM, but rather it challenges the theories present in it. Changing the theories after the fact is what in truth Mormanity/Nibley/Bennet have done, despite their sleight of hand that they have not.

Just to clarify, you found only one piece of verbiage to nick pick at. You were unable to nick pick the statement regarding Mormanity’s strawman. You concur that Mormanity has engaged in a strawman? Critics would agree that “nothing but Jewish ancestry for all Native America” is an “absurd oversimplification”. The critics argument has never been this, it has been more along the lines that at least somewhere in the western hemisphere there should exist significant populations of pre-Columbian decent that should be capable of using their DNA for something novel such as obtaining Israeli citizenship. It does not appear this will happen, just as Nibley (pre-DNA) realized that archeologist were unlikely to find masses of buried rusted swords and armor.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

M. said Critics would agree that “nothing but Jewish ancestry for all Native America” is an “absurd oversimplification”. The critics argument has never been this,...

Gasp! I hope you can reach out to the critics and remind them of this. From my perch, though, the hoopla over the DNA issue was squarely directed at the absurd simplification. I have had to repeatedly point out over the years, to numerous critics, that the Book of Mormon does not describe the origins of all Native Americans, that its accounts do not have hemispheric scope, that there were others in the land, and that in fact the arrival of Lehi's boat represented a small infusion (20-something people) of unknown haplotypes into a continent that may have millions already there. After mixing genes and facing great destructive wars, what genetic remnants of Lehi's unknown haplotype can we expect to find anywhere?

Don't tell me that critics would be satisfied with evidence of Middle Eastern DNA in some small part of the Americas (or with evidence of any kind, frankly). Hypothetically speaking, if we did show such groups exist or existed, say, among the Antioquian people of Colombia, it would be simply dismissed as being due to admixture with Europeans and we'd be reminded again of the need to show sweeping Jewish influence in Native American DNA. The history of the haplotype X is also instructive.

Jaredites: where were they? Central Asia makes the most sense for their origins. Certainly wasn't Europe. We don't know their genetics. The absurd simplifications of the BOM have the Jaredites leaving no genetic trace in the Americas, but Nibley is correct to challenge that. As a far earlier civilization in the Americas, they are much more likely to have had a major, lasting trace than the Nephites.

Darren said...

Mormography;

If I was playing your game I would have asked you to show where I stated that Mormanity stated things were not theorized before BoM, because I stated that he “suggests” not states. But I not interested in playing your game.

When you "suggest" something in writing, is that not making a statement? did I not cite your stated suggestion in full? In the words of the great cartoon Phibeas and Ferb, "why yes. Yes it is," and, "why, yes, yes I did." I wasn't playing any game. I was quite sincere.

The BoM does not suggest Asiatic origin. Hugh Nibley does AND!

Ironic how I can properly reply that the Book of Mormon doesn't *state* Asiatic origins but Nibley does argue that it *suggests* it.

only AFTER it appeared that science would forever favor an “Asian” theory,

I'm not nearly familiar enough with Nibley's works to say why he suggested what he did but no true scholar of Nibley's calliber would assume a scietific conclusion would remain as such "forever". That is in and of itself a very unscietific conclusion to make. It seems to me that Nibley was answering critics. That's what he did brilliantly.

As for your chronology of events, letter C can be tossed out forthwith. DNA does indeed show that there is the possibility of a European/Isreali migraton to the new World. This supports the Book of Mormon story; not science (imporperly used) which "rejects" the predominant Book of Mormon claim.

it does not have any insight before science did

Again, nobody says it does. Its insights do predate our modern-day scientific conclusions.



As per previous declaration, t does conform more to the Book of Mormon than it used to. That's for sure. But I don't need man's science to know it's true and neither do you.

About strawman: No, I don't think Jeff created a strawman; nor would I really care if he did. The main point of this thread is ancestory and he stuck to it.

archeologist were unlikely to find masses of buried rusted swords and armor.

Why should they?

Mormography said...

Yeah right Darren, you are sooo sincere. You try so hard to understand the essence of a position and don’t at all nick pick at verbiage. I invite everyone that is observing Darren’s sincerity to witness how he plays dumb and asks why archeologist should find rusted swords and armor, as if he has never read the BoM. Mormanity’s defense to swords and metal is to play the semantics card so many times it renders the BoM meaningless and one must stand up blow the nonsense whistle.

What a convenient distractor, Darren, to just through event C. There are no non-Mormon scholars that would, and plenty of Mormon scholars that would not also. Those Mormon scholars have been threatened with ex-communication, so it is fair to assume that the Mormon scholars that would through out event C do so in fear. However, the distractor does not at all change the essence of the point that extensions to Nibley’s reimagining DO NOT pre-date science’s challenges to the BoM. That is, IN FACT the BoM possess no such insight until science came along and Nibley reimagined the BoM in response to science.

The ancestory point of the thread is a strawman and you were not able to explain why it is not. But you admit that you do not care. You say you do not need science, but if that was true you would not even need to reimagine the BoM to fit science.

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

Above Mormanity suggest I remind any critics, but so far I have only had to correct apologist because they are the only ones making such oversimplifications. For example, the apologist Mormanity states “they [the Jaredites] are much more likely to have had a major, lasting trace than the Nephites”. What?? How can you make such an absurd oversimplification? Plausible jumped over possible and magically converted itself into “more likely”. Wow!

Nibley’s science induced, hyperbolic reimagining of the BoM is as bad as the strawman oversimplification it is meant to debunk. Just as the Mormons believe repeating “the Chruch is ‘true’” over and over some how makes it so, Mormanity apparently believes chanting “Nibley is correct” over and over magically makes Nibley’s reimagining predate science and cease being a strawman.

Darren said...

I invite everyone that is observing Darren’s sincerity to witness how he plays dumb and asks why archeologist should find rusted swords and armor

I ask becaue that is one very common misrepresentations of the Book of Mormon. The claim that archeologists *should* find rusted swords is way overplayed. It's a statement I'm well familiar with and I'm not playing dumb as opposed to throwing the ball to your court and allowing you to make the play on your own statement.

You made the claim that rusted swords have not been found by archeologists as a means to discredit the Book of Mormon. That's as clear as my writing this very post. So, I ask you, why would they find rusted swords. Yes, the Book of mormon says there were rusted swords found but I'm asking you *why* would archeologists find them? Are you saying that since the Book of Mormon claims there were rusted metal swords that archeologists should find them? If so then you need to defend what archeology is because it is NOT a science that *should* find anything but they are welcome to search for it.

So, again, no archeologists have not found rusted swords the Book of mormon clams to have resulted in great a great battle so I merely ask, why should archeologists find them? Bare in mind that we are talking about hundreds of years after aid rusted metal swords were found by the Nephites.

Those Mormon scholars have been threatened with ex-communication

I thought you were against creating strawmen. Please tell me that you consider Southerton as one of these folks "threatened" by excommnication over genetics and DNA.

so it is fair to assume that the Mormon scholars that would through out event C do so in fear

Speaking as one woh's been a lifelong active, LDS member, has sat on two disciplinary counsels, and was the son ofa bishop for five years, I ask, "how in the world do you conclude such an absurdity?" I thought you were against cognative disonance as well as creating strawmen; or did I misinterpret your previous posts?

Papa D said...

Mormography, one thing and one thing only:

"Asia" didn't exist when the Book of Mormon is purported to have been written. Why in the world would it have been mentioned, if it wasn't known in any way to anyone who wrote the record?

Seriously, that's a strawman of the highest order.

Darren said...

However, the distractor does not at all change the essence of the point that extensions to Nibley’s reimagining DO NOT pre-date science’s challenges to the BoM.

Who said it did? And since this is in direct connection as a supporting detail to your chiding my post, when did I say any such thing? In fact I wrote, "I'm not nearly familiar enough with Nibley's works to say why he suggested what he did but no true scholar of Nibley's calliber would assume a scietific conclusion would remain as such "forever". That is in and of itself a very unscietific conclusion to make. It seems to me that Nibley was answering critics. That's what he did brilliantly."

Doesn't that say that science predates Nibley? Again, to quote the geniuses of Phibeas and Ferb, "why, yes. Yes it does."

The ancestory point of the thread is a strawman and you were not able to explain why it is not.

No, it's not.

You say you do not need science, but if that was true you would not even need to reimagine the BoM to fit science.

Here's what I said, "But I don't need man's science to know it's true and neither do you. I do not need man's science *to know that the Book of Mormon is true*. Not that I "don't need science". Nor do I need man's science to know that the Bible is true. You dont need man's science either to know these boos are the true word of God.

Pops said...

..but is god supposed to miraculously reveal this knowledge of lime as a CO2 scrubber to the Jaredites?

Of course - how would that be absurd? That's what God does - he reveals things to people that they couldn't otherwise know.

Mormography said...

Darren,

Southerton was excommunicate, Murphy was almost excommunicated. But there you go again cannot even explain why something may or may not be a strawman/cognitive dissonance. Though one thing you are right about is that I do not need man’s science to know that the Bible, BoM, Koran, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, etc are all equally true.

You went from being sincere, to not playing a game, to not playing dumb, to well actually you were “throwing the ball to your[my] court” (insincerely, playing a game). I have successful explained that Mormanity both engaged in a strawman and falsely implied that his BoM theories predate science without anyone able to successfully retort. Game over, you lose. I will let you get back to the choir preaching game.

Mormography said...

PapaD,

Seriously? As one of Mormanity’s top cronies you cannot be seriously telling me you are not familiar with Mormanity’s principle defense strategies. The strategy with the BoM is always to say translation occurred in the Joseph Smith’s language that he was familiar with. Ergo things like errors in the KJV that are copied in the BoM are dismissed as non-problematic by apologist. Things like swords, metal, and horses are explained as being not actually being metal or horses, but the most similar words JS would have been familiar with. Asia exists in the KJV. So according to Mormanity the word Asia could indeed easily exist in the BoM.

But I get what you are saying PapaD. I was using deliberate hyperbole to make a point. That point being before Nibley the science induced, Asia reimagining of the BoM does not exist. Not only does it not exist in the Book, the Book was not at all interpreted this way. The only conclusive thing, as Mormanity confesses, the Jaredites were not Europeans and nothing can be known of their genetics. Oops: Even Mormanity confessed that we do not know if Jaredites were genetically Asian. That is right, Mormanity is just making the BoM catch up with science instead of the other way around as would be expected by the truly faithful. It is plain as day Mormanity is just playing games and does not care what truth is.

Now that we have autopsied the dead horse what is next, the meat grinder and the glue factory?

Darren said...

Southerton was excommunicate

Yes, he was. Care to elaborate why he was excommunicated and to compare/contrast his claims versus the LDS Church's position? Would calling him a lair and an adulterer mean anything to you?

But there you go again cannot even explain why something may or may not be a strawman/cognitive dissonance.

I don't care if Jeff made a strawman and it was you who made the accusation. You support it, I really do not care either way. and if you do not like cognative dissonnance, then why do you employ it?

I do not need man’s science to know that the Bible, BoM, Koran, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, etc are all equally true.

We agree. If you're moved upon by the Holy Spirit, embrace God's truth and strive to live by it. If the Spirit guides to to the Bible, then learn it an embrace it. If it does to the Qur'on, then learn of it and embrace it. If it does to the Book of Mormon, then learn of it and embrace it.

You went from being sincere, to not playing a game, to not playing dumb, to well actually you were “throwing the ball to your[my] court” (insincerely, playing a game).

Just giving you a visual. I think very visually and so my take o responding to you is akin to passin the ball to you and let you make your move. There's nothing insincere aboutdoing this. You made accusations and so esustain them. You're caught up in my not proving a strawman yet you have not answered why archeologists should find rusted swords. Yet another example of you employing a method you claim to not agree with. I do not understand your thinking other than to simply contend.

have successful explained that Mormanity both engaged in a strawman and falsely implied that his BoM theories predate science without anyone able to successfully retort. Game over, you lose.

More self-congradulatory rhetoric/tripe. Have you authored a self-esteem book or are you in the process of writing one?

Do you really want for me to show the strawmen in this thread? If you say yes, I'll oblige when possible.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand your thinking other than to simply contend.

Right, I think he comments here for the same reason as eveningsun - to disrupt the conversation and try to make the LDS Church somehow look bad by misrepresenting its message. I think that fits the definition of "troll".

Mormography said...

@ the new anonymous troll

Darren has already been caught playing dumb, so he obviously understands the thinking. He has already admitted that he was just trolling (throwing the ball in my court) and actually did indeed understand what I was referring to. I did not waste my time, but sense you are now the new troll I will bite and ask you to show me where I have misrepresented the LDS message.

Openminded said...

"Of course - how would that be absurd? That's what God does - he reveals things to people that they couldn't otherwise know."

Lime scrubbing. There's something paralleled with Young Earth Creationist thinking when you can pretend that God revealed lime scrubbing.

Papa D said...

Mormography, what's wrong with an open admission that the earliest saints, including Joseph, didn't understand what the BofM actually says about a lot of things - specifically because they didn't "study" it all that much? It was used as a "witness" not as a "proof-text" for over a hundred years - and, seriously, most members simply didn't study it critically to try to understand what it actually said in full context.

Iow, I see Nibley's work and my own thoughts as people trying to ignore everything that's been taught about a book and see what it actually says for itself. I've been at that attempt since I was seven years old - when I first realized that what people at church assumed about it was wrong, in many ways.

So, my own belief is simple:

Most members before the mid-20th Century were wrong about the BofM and what's written in it. They didn't understand it, because, really, they didn't try to do so from a "scholarly" standpoint. They didn't teach about the Jaredites being from Asia, because it never occurred to them to read it critically enough to even see the clues that are strewn all over the place in the Book of Ether. To me, it's patently obvious that Asia is the best GUESS as to their origin, but I admit it's only a guess. There is absolutely no way to know for sure, but it fits the actual narrative better than any other location of which I know.

If you can't understand or credit that possibility (that the early saints were wrong and we now have real scholarship that didn't exist back then), there is nowhere for this discussion to go.

Mormography said...

PapaD,

Hey man, you said “one thing and one thing only”. I guess that means you are conceding that I in fact did not create a strawman of even the lowest order.

I think you are back to suggesting that the Laminates no longer exist. If so I repeat ….

Yes, I understand the position: Since the beginning of Mormonism, Native Americans have been wrongfully referred to affectionately as Lamanites. Prophecies that they would blossom as a rose must have personal opinion, not revelation, because extensive intermarriage has essentially eliminated Lamanites. Prophecies such as “ And then shall the remnant of our seed know …. that they are descendants of the Jews.” And “ that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers “ Sudden becomes Lamanites -> Jaredites/Other Asians

Cognitive dissonance is a fascinating study. From my perspective it would have been an easier transition to just dismiss DNA studies as invalid because the DNA was in fact change. But it appears reinterpreting Lamanite lineage as being so diluted it exist only statistically insignificantly trace amounts is easier for Mormons. Either way, the problem of God making things appear as they are not is the same.

Pops said...

Lime scrubbing. There's something paralleled with Young Earth Creationist thinking when you can pretend that God revealed lime scrubbing.

There's no parallel there. Young earth creationism contradicts what we know about the planet. Lime scrubbing does not, but in fact agrees with known chemical properties. And I'm not pretending that God revealed it. I'm simply pointing out that there are many possibilities for filling in a sparse narrative, at least when one isn't mired in confirmation bias.

Papa D said...

Obviously, Mormography, as I said, there is nowhere to go with this. I could go through your last comment and tear it to shreds extremely easily, but you wouldn't accept it in any way, so what's the use?

It's much better at this point to end it by saying we simply see this issue very, very differently.

Mormography said...

PapaD,

There is nowhere for a discussion to go when you insist on going in circles. This thread proves that on the existence of Laminates the apologists have been thoroughly defeated and torn to shreds.

A true representation of Mormonism is that the BoM is much more than a witness or a proof text. It is consider the “keystone” of the religion. If it is “true” then the religion is supposedly to be considered the one true faith. And here you are yourself forced to tear the historicity claims of the “keystone” to shreds with a contorted reimagining.

Mormography said...

@anonymous troll

No response. I see, you were only interested in making unfounded, hit-and- run attacks. Such is the way of the frustrated, when they cannot counter a truth they attack its bearer.

Most LDS I know would consider Darren’s trite, contentious games while invoking the Holy Spirit the true misrepresentation of the LDS.

Openminded said...

Pops,
The parallel is that there is zero chance for this to have happened. Like the YEC's, your thinking is purely wishful.

You stop when you find a "possibility" and call me out on confirmation bias when I make an entirely rational statement. There are huge errors that would come up with this Jaredite barge story, and no outside scholar is going to consider it when coming up with migration theories.

I doubt even Mormon scholars find any reason to accept this as a migration theory beyond "feeling", and feeling in itself has been used to justify many different, mutually exclusive belief systems.

How can you possibly take that story seriously?

Darren said...

mormography;

Darren has already been caught playing dumb, so he obviously understands the thinking.

Ummm, no. I asked why should archeologists find rusted metal weapons? You did not answer it. Any response would be appreciated yet instead of responding you accused me of "playing dumb" which has the direct conotation that I was not serious in blogging my posts. I merely redirected your own accusation back at you and challeneged you to support it. To me "the ball is in your court". I'm a very visual thinker and the image of a basketball game comes to mind when I redirected your accusation. So, what support have ye?

I will bite and ask you to show me where I have misrepresented the LDS message.

Note that you are the one who is caught up in the "strawman" assertion. Not I nor anyone else here. Yet it has been you who has used it. Not Jeff nor anyone else.

The most applicable definition I can find in regards to this thread would be from the omniscient Wikipedia:

A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.[1][2]

You have said that Jeff has used a strawman on the front page of this thread. As far as I can tell, this is the gist of your strawman argument:

Ooohhh, so the BoM teachings that the Jaredites were not wiped out, but rather ended up being the principle ancestors of Native Americans. This sudden reading comprehension of the BoM shows a lack of comprehension of the critic’s argument. This sudden reading comprehension of the BoM shows a lack of comprehension of the critic’s argument.

You are correct in that the Book of Mormon says that the nation and people were wiped out and it does not say that the Jaredites became the principle ancestors ofthe Nephites. But what did Jeff say?

(con't)

Darren said...

Critics of the Book of Mormon want the world to think that it requires nothing but Jewish ancestry for all Native Americas.

This is the gist of the main citicism from critics against the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. By accurately aknowledging their principle criticism Jeff naturally shows he is not ignorant of it. Jeff fails to misrepresent the opposition's viewpoint thus failing at one point to create a strawman. By adressing the critic's attacks headone, Jeff also fails to "superficially" replace their position with an "unequivalent" one. Jeff's wording is antithical of creating a strawman. Jeff then refers to Nibley's work arguing that there sis reason to believe that the Jaredites came from an Asiatic origin. You can read, and have read for youself Nibley's own words on this matter.

Furthermore, I pulled out a Book of Mormon Student Manuel published in 1989. On the topic ofthe Jaredites' dfinal battle it cites Nibley desribing the tactic of capturing the opponent's king and keeping him alive while soldiers fought on the battlefeld until the last man as characteristic of Asiatic warfare.

What two nations used this tactic in the Book of Mormon? The Jaredites and the Nephites though admitedly the Nephites did not go out and capture a king and continue to fight while that king was captured. True to their Hebrew origin, a king or leader was killed on sight when found on the battlefield. But the Nephites did wage warfare with the Lamanites until the last man stood.

Jeff said, " Though Ether saw a great battle with few survivors as the Jaredite civilization collapsed, the Book of Mormon provides subtle hints that Jaredite influence remained in population groups that mixed with the Nephites and Lamanites." Fighting to the last man is a sign of a Jaredictic influence upon the Nephites, and the Lamanites.

Upon reflection and researching I failed to fnd any passage in the Book of Mormon which says that all Jaredites were killed. It does say that the people were killed and that *all* of King Shiz's household would be killed if they did not repent and they were all kiklled; but nowhere does it say that "*all* people" among the Jaredites were killed.

If not all Jaredites were killed then it's simple reason to think that they multiplied again and spread forth what they believed and what they knew. It is also very reasonable to conclude that Jaredites, even many of them, simply abandoned the ravage warfare being raged and settled elsewhere.

Now, for your strawman...

Darren said...

When you addressed Jared you said,

You are right, a lack of evidence for Lord of the Rings does not contradict the story, but the recent discover of hobbit like skeletons is even more prove today that the story is “true”.

You might as well have said - over time as science progresses findings add to the evidence in support of Ignatius Donnelly Atlantis theory of the new world - which of course is an absurd statement, not at all remarkable.


Here you brought up Lord of the Rings (exellent trilogy, best ever in fact), a hobbit skeleton, and Atlantis. Which of these has resulted in a world-wde denomination of more than 12,000,000, sends over 50,000 missionareis throughout the world every year, and sends aide to victims of tragedy? Jared's post compared PapD and Openminded's debate about barges and Jared thinks they both have valid points but that the main point of this thread is that, "nothing in the Book of Mormon contradicts what little we know from anthropological studies (and in fact, much of it confirms what we have learned from science)". so, why the Lord of the Rings, a hobbit skeleton, and Atlatis? By invoking these stories of fiction you effectively superficially created a new argument and denunced the new argument. That's a strawman.

Jared also said:

Further, over time as science progresses, instead of giving more and more evidence contradicting the Book of Mormon, findings add to the evidence in support of the Book of Mormon. That's remarkable.

I find that statement 100% correct and I myself have said as much on this website. Is he incorrect?

JohnnyLingo argued that people would laugh at an oral tradition as to the mathematical precison of the Egyptian pyramids. Is he incorrect. As you lumped your response to Jared with Lingo's, what does the Lord of the Rings, a hobbit skeleton, and atlantis have anything to do with his post?

In the same post, you also said:

Your same logic requires Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrew to be more true today (what, causian Mummies in China, Ethan Smith must have been right about the ten tribes going through the Bering Strait) or the Voree Plates.

Huh?

Openminded said...

Hey Darren! I saw my name in one of your posts.

But I also read: "Further, over time as science progresses, instead of giving more and more evidence contradicting the Book of Mormon, findings add to the evidence in support of the Book of Mormon"

There are some big anachronisms, such as steel, grapes and wine, and horses + chariots that, as time progresses, become ever more hopeless.

I think, when the whole world of critics challenges nearly every assertion, that you'll find great relief when even a few of the criticisms are either overturned or muddied up like a river.

However, it's just like when the Evvies celebrated over the city in Acts. Us non-believers cried foul when one of the cities mentioned in the Book of Acts wasn't discovered archaeologically. It seemed like a laughable mistake.But, as revealed in "The Case for Christ" (google it?) this city was eventually discovered.
The Evvie community took it as a miracle! So much criticism over this issue, and they finally found that city.

Well, so they found that city from the book of Acts. And they showed us critics that, well, geography wasn't enough to overturn the book of acts.

But now that the argument settled and the emotions calmed down, we realize that geography in no way means the story is true--regardless of how much of a (documented) relief it was to see a powerful anti-biblical argument laid to rest.

there are still a ton of issues with the bible. Just as there are still a ton of issues with the BoM, despite an increase in the amount of reparations you see.

Jeff can show where the issue has been muddied up, and his latest post shows where the BoM fits in just fine. But an increase in progress is just an increase. Marginal progress doesn't match up with overall progress at all. I could nail issues to the wall that the BoM will never get through (not including Jaredite barges!)

I wish Jeff would have a message board for us to debate issues, but honestly, I enjoy this community as it is anyways. Despite our differences in beliefs and approaches, I still look forward to our encounters.

Goodnight from Texas!

Darren said...

Openminded;

There are some big anachronisms, such as steel, grapes and wine, and horses + chariots that, as time progresses, become ever more hopeless.

You correctly identify what are today anachronisms to be answered but the number of anachronisms has shrunk since the publication of the Book of Mormon. One of them is elephants. While today there is not scietific support for elephants being used among ancient [Mesoamerican] Indians during the given time of the Jaredites, there have been discovered gylphs of elephants as well as figurines in Mesoamerica. Cement also used to be considered an anachronism but today it is abundantly clear that ancient Mesoamericans used cement. Great temples being erected is also a modern-day conclusion among ancient Mesoamerican Indian civilizations. This too was once considered an anachronism.

As you well know, even if today's anachrosnisms of steele and horses are never supported scientifically, it will not change my belief that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God for it is not by man's science that I konw it is true. I fuly support archeological efforts to uncover ancient American civilizations and the discoveries are fascinating.

There is a string of videos available to view known as "Evidence of the Book of Mormon". I'll give you a couple which may strike your interest.

Iron Ore - Book of Mormon Evidence This deals with tarcheological evidence of iron being used in the Arabian Penninsula to make tools. Metal and Metallurgy - The Mines of Timna - Book of Mormon Evidence. This shows how metalurgy could very well have been developed. Being a blacksmith is a very specialized trade and so few would know its details and this video offers plausible evidence of how Nephi apprenticed in metalurgy.

In order to avoid getting this post thrusted into moderation, i'll make a separate post with a couple more links.

Darren said...

(continued)

Metals in The Book of Mormon is a FAIRLDS video which shows linguistic evidence of metalurgy in ancient American civilizations. Horses and The Book of Mormon (Also a FAIR video) speaks about horse fossils disvocered "at the right levels" which seems to me arguing for the right time period to place them within the Book of Mormon story. The video also speaks about radiocarbon dating horse fossils found in the Americas to around the time of Christ. The video also mentions pre-Colombian but post Book of Mormon discovery of horse remains. That strikes at the heart ofthe argument that Europeans brought over horses.

Darren said...

openminded;

It seemed like a laughable mistake.But, as revealed in "The Case for Christ" (google it?) this city was eventually discovered.
The Evvie community took it as a miracle! So much criticism over this issue, and they finally found that city.


first and foremost, you just made an argument that since archeology has not found something, it does not mean that what is not found does not exist. There's a similar discovery of Tulum in Mesoamerica which has a temple, "after the manner of Solomon" which depicts a "descensding God" who is the beard of life and the God of all gods. At onep lace at that site he stands between two other deities, to t his left is filled (corporeal) and tothe right is nothing (non-corporeal). In Mormon theology the Father and the Son have bodies of flesh and bones but the Holy Spirit has no body of flesh and bone.

Book of Mormon Evidence and Christ in America: The City of Tulum

But now that the argument settled and the emotions calmed down, we realize that geography in no way means the story is true--regardless of how much of a (documented) relief it was to see a powerful anti-biblical argument laid to rest.

Not only that but i say that no science can show that the stories of the Bible, or Book of mormon are true. Especially the ones with direct divine connection. There's a divine source for truth confirmation and that is God's Holy Spirit; not man's science.

I wish Jeff would have a message board for us to debate issues, but honestly, I enjoy this community as it is anyways. Despite our differences in beliefs and approaches, I still look forward to our encounters.

Goodnight from Texas!


Thus far I enjoy this community and our encounters as well. Do you live in Texas too?

Pops said...

@Openminded:

...there is zero chance for this to have happened...

If you're talking about the suffocation problem, you need to provide some reasoning. There's no question that people can survive in a sealed vessel, provided the length of time without access to fresh air isn't too long. There's no question that using lime as a CO2 scrubber would extend the time. There's no question that an omniscient God could instruct Jared's brother to put a bit of lime in each boat. It isn't really sufficient to simply assert "zero probability" when such an assertion defies logic.

Anonymous Troll said...

No response. I see, you were only interested in making unfounded, hit-and- run attacks. Such is the way of the frustrated, when they cannot counter a truth they attack its bearer.

Truth? Where? Are you saying your opinion is truth?

Openminded said...

Darren,
I'll have to look more into those anachronisms you mentioned before i could go either way on them (except for cement, I remember when that one was around. always thought it only applied to back when BoM geography was still considered to be in America, but I could be wrong).

you gave me the usual "...it does not mean that what is not found does not exist." which I agree with--to a certain extent. the extent to which you agree with it is likewise limited, else we could go on making fanciful claims about anything. the invisible pink unicorn used to be a pretty popular meme with atheists (just prove it doesn't exist!).

but this is archaeology, and the argument against the BoM is more sophisticated than "there aren't any horse bones" or "then why don't we see steel swords laying around?"

The issue here is that entire economies pop up around these things. Horses--do you realize how much of an advantage they are to a civilization? furthermore, they would have to be tamed for riding. the implication of this being that taming a horse in a non-isolated society as the Nephites were supposedly in leaves evidence. And they were tamed for riding chariots, specifically. it's hard not to mention one without the other because they show up together in the BoM multiple times. furthermore, chariots require things such as wheels. and axles. and proper terrain to be ridden upon.

That's just a weak summary of this anachronism, but the one for steel is similar: what is required to produce steel, as well as what the production of it leaves behind, is more than just steel swords and such.

These anachronisms are so powerful that truly the only way to avoid them is to say God tampered with the evidence. he made it disappear. evidence for steel blacksmithery and the economies built up behind horses who can pull chariots is something too prevalent to be passed up due to the language used in the BoM to describe their rather large presence.

God himself would have to cover up the evidence. destroy it.

the same position is taken by people who support some really crazy religious theories. i hate to bring up the YEC again, but they're the perfect example of this (in reverse-form, really. planting instead of destroying).

Openminded said...

Pops,
"There's no question that an omniscient God could instruct Jared's brother to put a bit of lime in each boat. It isn't really sufficient to simply assert "zero probability" when such an assertion defies logic."

Your concept of God defies your own logic here. an omniscient God? come on, now.

here's the problem: a God who knows absolutely everything also knows the exact outcome of exactly every single interaction for every single everything that's out there. and when God created the world the way he did, he knew exactly what would happen as the result of the way he created the world.

if one thing happened that he didn't expect, he loses his all-knowing status. so everything must go exactly as he knew it would when he created the earth the way he did. you were meant to be mormon. i was meant to be an atheist. he knew this would happen, and he knows if either of us will change our stance on it.

but there's only one way for things to happen in such a case: exactly as God knew it would. or else, God would definitely not be an all-knowing being.

and so now we're stuck, because we have no say in what will happen with our lives. it was all laid out for us at the creation when God made the world. every last move can only go as God knew and planned for.

there is no free agency--only time progressing God's predetermined plan for us.

Or is He just not omniscient?

Pops said...

...there is no free agency--only time progressing God's predetermined plan for us.

Or is He just not omniscient?


Or, the third alternative, that he exists outside of time.

Darren said...

Openminded;

(except for cement, I remember when that one was around. always thought it only applied to back when BoM geography was still considered to be in America, but I could be wrong)

It could be but by and large during Joseph Smith's day, folks in the United States never viewed ancient American civilizations as erecting great buildings of cement on either of the American continents.

the invisible pink unicorn used to be a pretty popular meme with atheists

Here's what I said (bold mine):

As you well know, even if today's anachrosnisms of steele and horses are never supported scientifically, it will not change my belief that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God for it is not by man's science that I konw it is true.

First and foremost, I know it is the *true word of God*. I do not hold up the Book of Mormon as a source for secular history of the Americas, despite the fact that I very much believe that the story of the Book of Mormon really did happen. As real as my blogging this post. As far as t being the true word of God, science will never prove it, nor disprove it. Even if somehow all archeological evidence needed to "prove" the authenticity of the Book of Mormon popped up tomorrow, I will not believe any more in it being the true word of God than I do now. Likewise, I will not believe any less in it being God's true word with an utter lack of scientific evidence. Fortunately, there is scientific evidence and it does cause me to view the Book of mormon differently whoever without my "knowledge" that it is the true word of God.

furthermore, they would have to be tamed for riding. the implication of this being that taming a horse in a non-isolated society as the Nephites were supposedly in leaves evidence.

There's no mentin of horses being used inthe Book of Mormon; just that they were there. Only by inferencing could the reader conclude that horses were used. Specifically, they would likely have been used for the chariots though it does not necessarily have to be so.

The second link regarding horses speaks of ancient American roads ample enough for chrariots though there's no direct evidence of there being any chariots used.

God himself would have to cover up the evidence. destroy it.


That could very well be but I don't think *all* archeological evidence was altered by God despite the reports in the Book of Mormon of mountains being laid plain and plains being made into mountains by the undeniable power of God.

Darren said...

here's the problem: a God who knows absolutely everything also knows the exact outcome of exactly every single interaction for every single everything that's out there. and when God created the world the way he did, he knew exactly what would happen as the result of the way he created the world.

if one thing happened that he didn't expect, he loses his all-knowing status. so everything must go exactly as he knew it would when he created the earth the way he did. you were meant to be mormon. i was meant to be an atheist. he knew this would happen, and he knows if either of us will change our stance on it.


Just because God knows the outcome of all things does not mean tha the outcome is not the result of free choice. I can stop at Walmart before going home from work, buy a milk chocolate Hersey's bar and a bag of broccoli, bring them both home and ask my kids which would they prchoose to eat and make an accrate prediction of the outcome. Yuo can as well. Despite knowing the outcome already it does not mean that the outcome was not the result of free choices made. I chose to make the purchases, bring them home, ask the kids, allow them to choose, and they would make their choice.

Darren said...

Here's am excellent article of pre-Columbian horse remains. Start with about the last 6-7 paragraphs located at the bottom of the picture of Attila the Hun.

http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse/

You can also probably find this article by going to FARMS and serching "Horses in the Book of Mormon"

Openminded said...

Pops,
"Or, the third alternative, that he exists outside of time."
does nothing to change the implication that everything is laid out at the beginning.

Darren,
on the same subject--
"Despite knowing the outcome already it does not mean that the outcome was not the result of free choices made"
but the thing is, you have no choice but to go along the path god already laid out. say, in the future, you decide not to reply because my own reply took so long as well (sorry, classes are starting back up again!). God knew that if he laid out the world in a certain way, this was going to happen. nothing could prevent it from occurring exactly as he knew it would.

You're not free to go outside the choices God knew you would make. there's no veering off of the plan he knowingly made by designing the world the way he did.

Openminded said...

Darren,
I understand you accept the BoM as truth for spiritual reasons. and that even, sometimes science/archaeology will provide a context for your beliefs to thrive in.

but the bottom line is, the context of mesoamerica--which has absolutely no hint of steel production, chariot riding, or horses (and I'll respond to your horses in a bit!)--is one that invalidates the claims made in the BoM. it shows that, at least in certain parts, there are falsehoods embedded in the text. confirmed anachronisms. confirmed. and to me, they call into question whether Smith was inspired by God when he wrote the text. When you say you can pray about it--I say i can examine the text itself and determine that it is or isn't able to live in the historical timeframe it said it lives in. and I have every reason to consider it just folklore if it doesn't line up.

Anyways, back to horses.

you said:
"There's no mentin of horses being used inthe Book of Mormon; just that they were there. Only by inferencing could the reader conclude that horses were used. Specifically, they would likely have been used for the chariots though it does not necessarily have to be so."
Really quick, I'd like to point out that i said "And they were tamed for riding chariots, specifically" immediately after the part that you quoted me on :(

alright, back to business. It is clear and discernibly obvious that the chariots were used for riding. let's take the verses in full and context:
Alma 18:9 "And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.

Horses and chariots, known for carrying people lengthy distance, are being prepared. For one, that they are being prepared implies that there were areas designated for horses--which requires all the taming i mentioned--and that there was also chariot development (which requires wheels and axles, but I'll leave that part alone for now).

Alma 18:12 makes it clear that the horses and chariots were indeed for the king and his servants: "And it came to pass that when Ammon had made ready the horses and the chariots for the king and his servants..."

remembering, of course, that they were heading to a feast in the land of Nephi (we know they didn't go, but that's obviously beside the point).

Any attempt to decouple horses and chariots just doesn't work here. it's clear from the text that their intent was to carry the king and his servants to the feast of nephi. what else were they supposed to do? no, really? what other alternatives are there for the presence of this situation that entirely points to horses carrying the king and his servants on chariots to the feast? there is none. and if you can't accept that for some reason, you must accept that they were at least "prepared"--for what other reason they would be than transport, which is essentially none--and that preparation of a horse is, at the very least, a use and a display of knowledge about horses that are tamed/domesticated enough for preparation by servants for whatever purpose you come up with--which can, again, only be for transportation with chariots.

How exactly can you deny this?

Darren said...

but the thing is, you have no choice but to go along the path god already laid out. say, in the future, you decide not to reply because my own reply took so long as well (sorry, classes are starting back up again!). God knew that if he laid out the world in a certain way, this was going to happen. nothing could prevent it from occurring exactly as he knew it would.

What about if God knew the best wayto lay out the world so that his children, you and I among them, could make their own choices to follow him or not? That God knows the outcome can simply mean He knows the choices we will make for ourselves. That God still allowing us in this existence, despite knowing the end results is very telling as to the importance of this existence in His eternal plan.

Darren said...

but the bottom line is, the context of mesoamerica--which has absolutely no hint of steel production, chariot riding, or horses (and I'll respond to your horses in a bit!)--is one that invalidates the claims made in the BoM

In a scientific since that is true but would not that be true *only* if you're assuming omniscience in what science has to say? If so, that is the most unscientific approach anyone can take regarding science. And, if you know everything that is was and will be about about science, wouldn't that mean that we no longer have any choice on what we do. ;>)

it shows that, at least in certain parts, there are falsehoods embedded in the text. confirmed anachronisms. confirmed.

By using "confirmed', you're still assuming omniscience in science.

I say i can examine the text itself and determine that it is or isn't able to live in the historical timeframe it said it lives in

That would be what man has concluded to be the timeframe; not what necessarily happened or how things happened. Prayer's a much better route to learn of God's truth. He's shown me His truth and He will do the same for you.

Any attempt to decouple horses and chariots just doesn't work here.

That's a very valid point. While, strictly speaking, you can only infer that horses were used by man the story of the Book of Mormon does leave little to no doubt that they were used. One of the reasons I previously pointed to horses ony being used by inference is that there's very little mention at all of horses in reference of them being actually used. What I should have done, and this is poor blogging on my part for not having done this previously, was to do a search of the number of times of horses is mentioned in the Book of Mormon (I've never done that before) and the context of their existence.

It is mentioned 13 times inthe Book of Mormon. Chronologically speaking, they are first mentioned in Ether as well as in 1 Nephi and all the way to 3 Nephi. I only found reference to being used for transportation in Alma. In the other parts they are refeencd as having been in the people's possessions as well as roaming around freely. Being in the people's possession did not necessarily mean they were ridden or used for work. They could very well have been a source for food. Even there there would be some degree of domestication but tothe degree to have them pull chariots is only mentioned in Alma as far as I could tell. So, it is reasoable to conlude that the knowledge and ability to tame them to the extent of being used by humans for transportation was very limited and thus could have been easily lost.

Just an idea.

Darren said...

Openminded;

thisis interesting. In 3 Nephi 21:14 we read, "14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; This was referring to latter-day peoples inhabiting the Americas and but I wonder if this was not already literally done by the handf God pre-Columbian arrival.

Darren said...

Openminded;

One more thing. A sincere best fo luck to you with your classes. Taking classes on top of your slready set schedule can be very taxing physically and mentally so thank you for taking time to post here. and do well in your classes. The long-term benefit from them will easily pay for the struggle you're currently in for taking them.

Darren said...

Openminded;

You may be interested in Book Of Mormon Archeological Evidences. It shows some pre-Columbian archeology whic might be interesting. But the best and most poignant message in this video is the very last one. ;>)

Openminded said...

"What about if God knew the best wayto lay out the world so that his children, you and I among them, could make their own choices to follow him or not?"
I can see where you're getting at. That, even though he knows the choices we will make, they're still choices despite Him knowing.

But this doesn't address the issue that we can't stray away from what God knew would happen. We have no choice in the matter but to follow the decisions he knew would happen. the only will we have is the one he set for us when he created the world, and us, the way he did. if he didn't know while creating us that the way he was creating us--and everything else--would lead to a single path for us, then we're at best just discovering the path laid out to us from god. but even then, we have no choice but to follow the path before us.

Do you see what I mean?

Openminded said...

Darren,
In a scientific sense that is true but would not that be true *only* if you're assuming omniscience in what science has to say?

No, scientific omniscience isn't required here. Your next line about having to follow the will of science is interesting though.

This is like the old Galileo vs. the church debate that existed back then over the earth being at the center of the universe (and all of heliocentrism, but you know what i mean). Galileo confirmed this was not the case. the evidence for heliocentrism just wasn't where it would have been if the design of the universe was heliocentric.

There's no omniscience at play with Galileo's science, just as there isn't with criticisms about horses, chariots, and steel. There just isn't evidence where there would need to be evidence. steel production, domestication of horses for chariots, the development of the chariot itself, and really these are just a handful of the items. They're some of the top examples of anachronisms, which is why I discuss them, but there are plenty of others.

You say prayer is a better method than finding evidence, but come on. Mormonism has an entire sub-sect that prayed and got a more liberal answer (New order mormons, I'm sure you may have heard of them. they have different routes to the same place, but some got there by praying). How come people will sometimes get different answers by the same method? You have a lot of sureness that you got the right answer via prayer, and they have just as much sureness that their answer from prayer is the right one. where's the credibility in such a method? prayer showed different people different "truths". how do you think this looks to an outsider.

placing the uncertainty of prayer on top of claims in the BoM that are invalidated, and it starts looking a lot less like a God-inspired book.

So, it is reasoable to conlude that the knowledge and ability to tame them to the extent of being used by humans for transportation was very limited and thus could have been easily lost.

First of all, if the verse you mentioned in 3 Nephi had come true, then the BoM has its own excuse for why your reasoning should be followed. However, after reading the chapter of 3 Nephi 21, and skimming over the BoM up until Ether from there, it becomes clear that over 300 years pass by without this happening--and there's no mention at all of it happening anyways. And i think it's clear that this did not happen because the events laid out in 3 Nephi 21:15-19 especially didn't happen--it seems to be a prophetic threat of sorts, and the BoM never mentions those events ever again (but does mention the Lamanites being cut off in Mormon 3). I'll admit, and let's be honest, it had every chance to do so.

Regardless, we can, at the very least, expect there to be no interference from God in this matter before roughly 400 AD.

There's still plenty of time for the horse, and the only reason they couldn't show up is if they died off. The BoM skips through 300 years after Jesus's prophetic warnings about cutting off the heads of horses and destroying chariots, and it only mentions the progression of religious belief and war during then. And after reading all the way through Mormon, there's nothing that would suggest the horses died off or that the people forgot about them. and with the kings living for a long time, it's hard to see why they would give up on being transported by horse and chariot, if they were indeed the only ones who moved by that method. the culture of taming horses doesn't have much room to mysteriously disappear for no reason

Openminded said...

Also,
A sincere best of luck to you with your classes. Taking classes on top of your slready set schedule can be very taxing physically and mentally so thank you for taking time to post here.

thanks! I used to have religious reasons for posting here, but it's hard to leave it alone even without a good reason to keep it up. I guess it's just enjoyable to debate something you've taken a lot of time to look into. but once again, thank you

Darren said...

Openminded;

But this doesn't address the issue that we can't stray away from what God knew would happen.

Fine; but the fact ofthe matter is that we will get there based upon our own choices. It could very well be that neither you nor I are on currently on the course to get to where God knbows we will end up but we will get there and it will be based on the changes we choose to make. If I knew with absolute knowledge who will win the GOP primaries that will not change the fact that tit will become realized by choices many people make to get to tha result.

Do you see what I mean?

I do. I used to ponder on this a lot growing up and placed into my head the precise possibility your are purpoting here. My reply to you is what I came up with. Do you see what i mean?

Darren said...

Openminded;

There's no omniscience at play with Galileo's science, just as there isn't with criticisms about horses, chariots, and steel

I agree. It is you who is assuming omnisicence in using science as a conclusive declaration against the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon; not the science itself. If you read the FAIR article, you'll see how horse fossils found are discarded as post-Columbian horses found unexpectidly without additional testing as to the dates of those fossils. It is not the science assumung omniscinence; but those who use science to make absolute conclusions. Science is such that it is always open for reinterpretation and for new, even contradictor, conclusions to emerge.

There just isn't evidence where there would need to be evidence. steel production, domestication of horses for chariots, the development of the chariot itself, and really these are just a handful of the items.

actually, I think you laid out the bulk ofthe items right there. I already linked linguistic evidence for metal. If there were no metal production in ancient America, then why are words for steel/metal found in several Indian dialects? Products fo metals have been unearthed in the Americas and I think you may be assuming to much as for to the extant of their use. Beyond the Jaredites, there are only four mentions of "steel" in the Book of Mormon and the last menton was in Jarom 1:8 which is not too far into the Nephite Book of Mormon history. It's very possible that the techniques learned to develope tools of steel were lost early on in the Nephite history.

You say prayer is a better method than finding evidence, but come on.

I mentioned prayer specifically to know for yourself that the Book of Mormon is the *true word fo God*. Here's what I said in support of that statement:

First and foremost, I know it is the *true word of God*. I do not hold up the Book of Mormon as a source for secular history of the Americas, despite the fact that I very much believe that the story of the Book of Mormon really did happen. As real as my blogging this post. As far as t being the true word of God, science will never prove it, nor disprove it. Even if somehow all archeological evidence needed to "prove" the authenticity of the Book of Mormon popped up tomorrow, I will not believe any more in it being the true word of God than I do now. Likewise, I will not believe any less in it being God's true word with an utter lack of scientific evidence. Fortunately, there is scientific evidence and it does cause me to view the Book of mormon differently whoever without my "knowledge" that it is the true word of God.

By all means, use science to investigate the history of the Book of Mormon; just don't use it to conclude or not that it is the true word of God. To me, it does not matter what science says about the Book of Mormon in it's divine authenticity. What science says, will not affect my knowledge of the Book of Mormon's divine truth for it is not thby the power of man's science that I know the Book of Mormon to be God's true and divine word.

(New order mormons, I'm sure you may have heard of them. they have different routes to the same place, but some got there by praying). How come people will sometimes get different answers by the same method?

I'm not sure who "new order mormons" are. Are you referring to the United Order? The division I see was based on people's choices. I think God is a God who will change things, includingHis commandments in part according to His children's desire to obey them. And that's biblical thogh you porbably weren't taught that in your Protestant days spiritually mourning the Mormons. ;>)

Darren said...

Openminded;

How come people will sometimes get different answers by the same method?

Prayer has *lots* of variables in terms of the outcome. In fact, I think they are way too many for humans to even comprehend and ths may be one reason we are not to judge others and their spirituality (which I do not find you doing). All in all, the spiritual truth is one that comes from a peace and contentment in both the ind and the heart. I've experienced moments of great comforting warmth in my entire body as well as a much for subtle, "yes, this s correct". But either way i think God communicates directly to one's mind and heart: to the entire "soul" of the person, if you will. The promptings of the Spirit are peaceful though they can be determined at times.

However, after reading the chapter of 3 Nephi 21, and skimming over the BoM up until Ether from there, it becomes clear that over 300 years pass by without this happening--and there's no mention at all of it happening anyways. And i think it's clear that this did not happen because the events laid out in 3 Nephi 21:15-19 especially didn't happen--it seems to be a prophetic threat of sorts, and the BoM never mentions those events ever again

good points. but who said this had to have happened in the Book of Mormon times? My reading of said prophetic warning of cutting off the horses and chariots from the people would be to modern-day gentiles who will inhabit this land as "which is a choice land". I'm only speculating at the possibility that somewhere and sometime, even during some post Book of Mormon time if this happened then that could very well explain why there is little archeological evidence of horse in the Americas and none to show them used by a great civilization. But the lack of this evidence is hardly a "blunder" on Joseph Smith's part. The story ofthe Book of mormon itself offers very reasonable explanations as to why such little archeological evidence has popped up on the radar (so to speak).

Regardless, we can, at the very least, expect there to be no interference from God in this matter before roughly 400 AD.

i agree but I again refer you to the fact that the mentioning of horses and chariots together with the direct implication that horses drew the chariot is mentioned only once and therefore it is very reasonable to conclude that such techinque was very limited. This includes knowledge and success in taming horses among the people. With such a limitation, this knowledge could easily be lost.

Keep up the Book of Mormon reading, it's good for you. And don't forget that you are the son of the great divine being of all that is and He will listen to your prayers and answer them.

Mormography said...

If critics claimed the absurd oversimplification as Mormanity falsely suggests, then all they would do is test one indigenous population and call it quits. However, the mere fact they reviewed the data for multiple indigenous populations is prove positive they never claimed as Mormanity falsely suggests they did.

Thanks to help of FAIR I came across this written by Simon Southerton in 2008, four years before this post by Mormanity. “They also set up the straw man that I am arguing that according to the Book of Mormon all American Indians are descended from Hebrews. I have never claimed this. The vanishing geography theory is utter desperation.”link

When I first pointed out Mormanity’s strawman above, Mormanity’s immediate response was to go to the opposite absurd oversimplification. He suggested critics should not dismiss Middle Eastern DNA of a single indigenous group as being due to European mixture. link

I agree with Mormanity. His oversimplications are indeed absurd.