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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Grainsayers

"Gainsayers" are those who are just looking for excuses to criticize and condemn. That term might fit a number of anti-Mormon critics. There's even a book by that title about an ex-Mormon who came back to the Church, at least for a while, after learning that the particular anti-Mormon group who had lured him away was a pretty deceptive batch of gainsayers. Recently, though, I encountered a related phenomenon: the grainsayers.

During a foolish adventure over at a Great and Spacious Website where the angry and wise ones mock all things Mormon, I was surprised to see that a highly informed ex-Mormon still included barley on his definitive list of Book of Mormon failures. You know, those lists of plants and animals mentioned the Book of Mormon that allegedly never were anywhere in the New World during Book of Mormon times, like horses, elephants, barley, and wheat. One can ask fair questions about all these matters, but to present them as slum-dunk arguments for rejecting the Book of Mormon is irresponsible, especially so in the case of barley since real domesticated pre-Columbian barley has now been found in many parts of North America, including Mexico, since anti-Mormons began nitpicking over this grain. Ah, but these discoveries don't count, that ex-Mormon explained, because they aren't the same species of barley that is found in the Old World.

Hold on, sir. The Book of Mormon in its occasional mention of barley does not require that Nephite barley was an Old World import. It merely says that "barley" was harvested. The fact that real barley was domesticated and harvested in the New World must count for something, but it's not good enough to boot the sure-fire barley argument from the bounty of arguments hoarded up in anti-Mormon granaries, ready to be ground and half-baked whenever needed. 

See "Another look at Barley in The Book of Mormon" by Tyler Livingston (and see the note at the end on the grains in Mesomerica vs. Peru issue). Also see "Barley and Wheat in the Book Mormon."

There are many questions to ask about the Book of Mormon, but let's drop the gainsaying, or rather, grainsaying. Meanwhile, we ought to be at least a little impressed with this odd little gem: sheum as a grain. Did you know about that? Do you know why it's potentially cool? Study on. 


1 comment:

Bookslinger said...

gainsayers = nattering nabobs of negativism.