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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth? No Need to Grieve Over Another Case of Alleged Plagiarism in the Book of Mormon

"Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth" in the Book of Mormon has been criticized as an obvious mistake based on plagiarizing the New Testament. But there's no need to grieve over this case.

There are many questions like this that one case raise, for the Book of Mormon relies heavily on biblical language. It seems that when they fit, expressions from all over the Bible, including the New Testament, are used in the translation. The intertextuality with the KJV is actually remarkable. Pointing to a few words shared and crying foul misses the sophisticated way in which KJV language is used in the translation (more on this below).

Critics have objected to two aspects of the combination in Alma 40:13 of "weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth," as well as "weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth" in Mosiah 16:2. The first objection is that this phrase is close to a New Testament phrase, "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28) that is not found in the Old Testament, making it seem that Joseph "plagiarized" from the New Testament. It is also close to "wailing and gnashing of teeth" in Matthew 13:42,50. Second, they object to "weeping and wailing" together since they mean roughly the same thing and are redundant, and allegedly not found in the Bible: "The Bible never uses both weep and wail because in all of these cases they are just alternate translations of the same original word" says one critic at https://m.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/1q1tmt/, for example. It's an odd combination of arguments, though. First, we must reject a phrase in the Book of Mormon because it has a combination of words from the Bible, and second, we must reject it because it uses a combination of words NOT found in the Bible. That's a relatively high hurdle for any divinely aided translation of scripture, IMHO.

Is it true that "weep" and "wail" don't occur together in the KJV? Not so fast! Esther 4:3 seems to invalidate that specious argument: "there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes." Here "weeping" is from Strong's H1085, bekiy, and "wailing" is from Strong's H4553, micepd, which in the KJV is typically translated as "mourning" or "wailing." Further, Jeremiah 9:10 has the same combination: "For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation." Later in Jeremiah 9:20 we have "wailing" and "lamentation," which is close.

Regardless of how they are translated, a pair of similar words to express mourning is actually a legitimate ancient Hebrew practice attested in many places besides Esther. It's just a natural part of parallelism in Hebrew, especially in poetical expressions. 2 Samuel 1:12 has "And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son...." The word "mourned" is Strong's H5594, caphad, meaning "to wail, lament, mourn," and "wept" is Strong's H1058, bakah, meaning "weep, bewail, cry, shed tears." A Hebrew word often translated as "howl" is Strong's H3213, yalal, meaning "howl, wail, make a howling." Both yalal and caphad are combined, for example in Micah 1:8 where they are translated in the KJV as "wail" and "howl" in "I will wail and howl," followed by two other Hebrew words for mourning in "I will make a wailing like the dragons and a mourning as the owls." That's wail, howl, wailing, and mourning all in one verse, with four different Hebrew terms. Isaiah 14:31 has "Howl, O gate; cry, O city" in the KJV, with "wail" and "howl" in the NIV. Isaiah 22:12 has "weeping" and "mourning," Isaiah 25:34 and Isaiah 65:14 have "cry" and "howl," Jeremiah 4:8 has "lament" and "howl," Jeremiah 6:26 has "mourning" and "lamentation," Jeremiah 48:31 has "lament" and "cry." Other examples with two terms for mourning or lamenting combined include Genesis 50:10 and many more.

"Wail" and weep" or "cry" cannot be said to come from the same word, as the critic alleged, and can be combined with other terms for mourning, as often happens in the Hebrew Bible. There's no problem here. Translating a pair of terms for mourning as "weeping" and "wailing" poses no problem, even if it looks like it's from the New Testament. It's found in the Old Testament, but even if the Old Testament bulls-eyes from Esther and Jeremiah weren't there, using New Testament terms in the translation is not a problem and does not invalidate the authentic Semitic origins of the Book of Mormon.

But what about "gnashing of teeth"? Isn't that straight out of the New Testament? Perhaps, but as with much of the language in the New Testament, there are ancient echoes to consider. In fact, the combination of mourning with "gnashing of teeth" is found in the Hebrew Bible in Psalm 112:10: "The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth." Further, Lamentations 2:16 has "they hiss and gnash the teeth." There is no reason why Book of Mormon writers could not have used similar terms to describe the grieving of the wicked, including a parallel pair of mourning-related terms. Gnashing (upon someone) with the teeth also occurs in Job 16:9, Psalm 35:16, and Psalm 37:12.

Whatever the original Hebrew/Egyptian words were, a poetical pairing of mourning-related words and the vivid imagery of gnashing teeth, all attested in the Old Testament, could naturally and appropriately be translated into familiar KJV language to yield "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth." This grouping has Biblical support but is not simply plagiarized from the Bible. It's ideal for critics because they can object that it is too much and too little like the Bible.

For details on the profound level of interwoven language, see Nick Frederick's presentation, "'Full of grace, mercy, and truth': The New Testament in the Book of Mormon," presented at the 2015 Exploring the Complexities in the English Language of the Book of Mormon conference sponsored by The Interpreter. Also see "Why Did Ammon Borrow So Much from Tradition in Alma 26?" at Book of Mormon Central, June 30, 2016; Quinten Barney, "Samuel the Lamanite, Christ, and Zenos: A Study of Intertextuality," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 159–70; "Why Does Jacob Quote So Much from the Psalms? (Jacob 1:7)," Book of Mormon Central, March 25, 2016, and Taylor Halverson, "Reading 1 Peter Intertextually with Select Passages from the Old Testament," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 20 (2016): 151-176.

36 comments:

Jerry Grover said...

There is still a lot to be understood about the translation from the reformed Egyptian. Based on my research, the text was actually in Egyptian, not Hebrew written in Egyptian, so one would not expect that other than macro structures like chiasmus, there are probably not many if any Hebraisms in the original text, but the translator used Biblical or Early Modern English forms. Anyway, if anyone is interested in a free pdf book on the reformed Egyptian (and a few other BOM related books) you can go to www.caractors.org

Everything Before Us said...

"weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth" used all together like that also shows up in numerous Christian writings published between the years of 1800 and 1828.

Amazing once again how those clever Nephites pre-empted so many European/American Christian expressions, phrases and doctrines by hundreds of years. Just absolutely amazing!

Anonymous said...

There goes EBU again, being an anti-Mormon with his convincing evidence!

Jeff Lindsay said...

EBU demonstrates that the phrase in question has entered into the English language and thus could be selected by a translator to convey grief and mourning, which further eliminates grounds for objecting to its occurrence in the Book of Mormon. So whether it literally reflects wording on the gold plates that directly draws upon the Hebrew Bible or whether it is a less literal translation into the English of the translator's day, I trust you will agree that there is no reason to cry foul over this phrase.

But it is also interesting to note that the trio of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth was also in place in Early Modern English, as a quick search of Early English Books Online at Univ. of Michigan will reveal. Here is one of many examples: (next comment)

Jeff Lindsay said...

From EEBO:
Title: Seuen treatises containing such direction as is gathered out of the Holie Scriptures, leading and guiding to true happines, both in this life, and in the life to come: and may be called the practise of Christianitie. Profitable for all such as heartily desire the same: in the which, more particularly true Christians may learne how to leade a godly and comfortable life euery day. Penned by Richard Rogers, preacher of the word of God at Wethersfield in Essex.
Author: Rogers, Richard, 1550?-1618.
Publication Info: At London : Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, for Thomas Man, and Robert Dexter, and are to be sold at the brasen Serpent in Pauls Churchyard, 1603.
Collection: Early English Books Online
→ Search Results: 1 match in full text
Table of contents | Add to bookbag
THE SIXTH TREA∣TISE SHEWETH WHAT PRIVILEDGES BELONG TO euery true Christian: and how he may haue his part in them. > CHAP. 14. Of the tenth and last priuiledge, inioied perfectly in the life to come, but begunne heere.
• ...ot to be neg∣lected, that when the wicked shall be at their wits end, and smitten with hor∣ror, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth; euen then shall the faithfull inioy this infinite varietie of he ...

Anonymous said...

The earliest correspondence I have encountered as of now (notice the variable spelling) is from the Church of England's Second Book of Homilies (to be read in all parishes), written by the Bishop of Salisbury, John Jewel, in reference to Matthew 22:

1571, EEBO A03549, page 273
And therfore commaunded his seruauntes to binde him hand & foote, and to cast him into vtter darknesse, where shalbe weeping and wayling, and gnashyng of teethe.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A03549.0001.001/1:11.2?rgn=div2;view=fulltext

Because the BofM shows correspondence with many earlier elements that were highly unlikely for Joseph Smith to have known, taking this phrase to correspond to earlier English is a more reasonable stance than taking taking it to correspond to modern usage.

Also, because comparatively few books and words were published in earlier centuries compared with the modern period, one attestation in the earlier period is equivalent to many attestations in the modern period. People like EBU naively assert that they can find many examples in the early 1800s. What they apparently don't take into account is that we should expect modern usage rates that are as much as two orders of magnitude higher, since currently more texts from the modern period have been digitized and spelling was more consistent and largely standardized by that time.

Everything Before Us said...

anon 10:59

It doesn't matter if the phrases found in the 1800's are also found in previous centuries. They were in usage in the 1800's, and that is all that is needed to show, since Smith was writing in the 1800's.

I don't know what is so hard about this...

Everything Before Us said...

anon 11:59

There goes EBU again, being an anti-Mormon with his convincing evidence!

You are playing into the stereotype of Mormons who label anything even slightly critical of the Church as "anti-Mormon." Way to go!

By that definition, you as a Mormon are "anti-Catholic" and "anti-Protestant," and you are even "anti-Semitic," considering all the nice things Nephi has to say about the Jews and their "wicked traditions" in the Book of Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

I think that your point is that this phrase is so unique that it couldn't be coined by anyone else? Or maybe the translation resulted in a phrase that was in common usage but it shouldn't have been translated that way? I guess I really don't follow what you are getting at.

Steve

Everything Before Us said...

Steve,

It can happen a few times. I can accept that the Nephites also develop doctrines that were later developed in Europe. I can accept that Joseph Smith may have just used common phrases to stand in for ideas found in the text of the Book of Mormon.

I can accept all of this.

But it happens over and over and over again. And it even happens with very "Mormon-esque" phrases, like "new and everlasting covenant," and "true and living church," and "plain and precious truth" etc etc etc.

These three expressions (only one is in the BoM, the other two are D&C) are found in Christian writings of the time period.

It is obvious that Joseph Smith was using Christian vocabulary and phraseology of the time period out of its original Christian context in a new way unique to his new religion with its new concepts and ideas.

The New and Everlasting Covenant - what an important Mormon concept! Yet...Smith couldn't even come up with an original name for it.

The True and Living Church - (that is the Lord Himself speaking in D&C 1!) What a powerful and beautiful phrase! Very poetic. Yet, the Lord was actually just using a phrase found in other Christian writings of the time to describe his new Church of the Last Dispensation.

Now do you get it Steve? Is it starting to make a little bit of sense now?

Of course not. You have decided that you will believe first, and reshape all the facts around your belief. You are incapable of allowing the facts to point to any other conclusion other than the one that you have already come to.

See...this kind of borrowing happens in the Book of Mormon. It also happens in the D&C. The Nephites didn't write the D&C. The fact that this borrowing occurs in both books sort of indicates that it is Joseph Smith who was doing it. He is the common factor in both books. Therefore, it makes more sense that it wasn't the Nephites at all that wrote the Book of Mormon, but Joseph Smith. His MO of borrowing from Christian writing shows up in both books.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Maybe you are forgetting that the Restoration is about a Christian event, and that the Gospel for Mormons is the Christian Gospel, and so what vocabulary other than Christian vocabulary do you want Joseph Smith to use when he is teaching, speaking, and even translating? Actually, the Book of Mormon shows extensive evidence of both language and content that cannot be explained by Joseph's environment. But even if he were acting as a more ordinary translator putting it all into his own English instead of the unusual Early Modern English influence we often see, what's the problem? The problem only becomes worth discussing when there are major concepts that seem anachronistic, such as baptism before Christ (not really a problem) or the concept of the "infinite atonement" which is generally viewed as a late doctrinal development, which we've discussed elsewhere in more detail. But most of the objections you make don't really carry any weight.

Everything Before Us said...

The Restoration is about a Christian event? But all other Christians would disagree.

Smith was a latecomer on the scene. He can't just come into the sandbox and say, "I'm a Christian, the rest of you aren't real Christians, and you are defining all your terminology the wrong way."

It doesn't work that way. It certainly doesn't work that way for Mormons. No one can come along after the fact and say, "I'm a Mormon. I have the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon. If you don't follow me, you are no longer a full Mormon."

Right? A guy who would do that has no rightful claim to the title of Mormon, does he? You wouldn't be okay with a guy like that amassing a following of 15 million people, and going door-to-door saying, "I'm a Mormon. Join my church. We are Mormons, just like those Mormons in Salt Lake City."

Nope...that's a no-go for sure.

But in reality...that is your message to the world. "I'm a Christian. In fact, we are the original Christians! Those other Christians are wrong. Join my Christian church."

You can't argue that the Restoration is a Christian event. It is a Mormon event.

Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

The facts are the Joseph used phrases that were common or not common but not original with the Restoration. I can accept those facts. And what is the conclusion you want me to come to based on these facts?

Steve

Anonymous said...

I'm anon at 11:59 and I was just joshing you EBU. Sorry if that didn't come through. It's impossible to gauge tone (and tire pressure) on the internet.

Everything Before Us said...

Anon...12:26

Oops. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Phraseology and linguistic arguments are problematic because they are both trying to prove truth by probability. Truth can't be proven by probability because truth is absolute and probability is not.

A more meaningful argument to me isn't the language that is used (Joseph had the Bible and his own linguistic milieu to draw from--& if either of those fails, it was "inspired" after all), but the global themes that are unique to the BoM (as compared to the Bible and other Old Testament era religious texts) that are heavily influenced by 19th century America. 1) The idea that the US is a promised land reserved for the righteous. 2) The Native American nations are descendents of the lost tribes of Israel. 3) (to a lesser degree as it isn't unique, but which was a large hot button topic in New York in the 1820s & 30s) the fear of secret societies and their influence on the government.

To me these three themes, which are the backbone of the BoM, are distinctly 19th century American and make a strong argument for it being a text from that period.

Ftan said...

And you think thematic evidence isn't probabilistic? We can find 19c themes, 16c themes, ancient themes. We can find themes that are timeless, that are found in different centuries and places, etc. Thematic evidence is weaker than linguistic evidence.

Everything Before Us said...

Ftan.

You don't have any linguistic evidence, because you don't have the original language to work with. You have a translation. The only thing that might be provable so far is the presence of Early Modern English. But that does NOTHING to prove the book to be pre-Colombian America. Obviously.

Take an English translation of the Illiad. Pretend like the original Greek version doesn't exist. What linguistic evidence are you going to have that the story you are holding is an ancient record.

Only linguistic evidence now...nothing else. How can you prove the story to be an ancient one solely through the linguistic evidence.

Anonymous said...

Finding 19th century and 16th century themes in a text supposedly written up to a millennium before is quite a large problem.

Jerry Grover said...

There is an example of the original text and it does have mesamerican elements http://nebula.wsimg.com/0fa4f6200d99553e75d9bb9f1311c2e5?AccessKeyId=A0EA741743254B9C037B&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

Everything Before Us said...

Jerry,

I can't get your web address to bring up anything. Anyway, the original text wasn't written in a Mesoamerican language. It was written in reformed Egyptian. It shouldn't have linguistic ties with Mesoamerican languages, especially the parts written by the first Nephi and Jacob, who wouldn't have yet absorbed any MesoAmerican influences enough for any of that to show up in their writings.

Anonymous said...

I got the link. It written by a civil/geological engineer claiming to be able to translate the Charles Anton "Caractors" document. I think his goal is to bore you with so much information that you either lose interest or believe him because he has written so much. I stopped reading after the following:

"It is important to note here that the Book of Mormon made no specific mention of coins here, nor did it make any specific mention of weight; it referred to 'pieces,' which could certainly be interpreted as a volumetric measurement, especially considering that the raw gold and silver in this era in Mesoamerica were native gold and silver, the gold probably primarily from placer-type deposits that generate small pieces or flakes of gold. Many of those who have previously analyzed this section of the Book of Mormon have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that the marketplaces of the Nephites must have been full of scales brimming with gold and silver, with all of the people pulling gold and silver out of their pockets when, in fact, the very opposite language is contained here (Alma 11:4-5): "

He fails to mention that those "erroneous assumptions" are drawn based on the preceding verse "3 And the judge received for his wages according to his time--a senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, which is equal to a senine of gold; and this is according to the law which was given." Also is a verse later in the chapter "20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money." I'm not sure how anyone could draw the conclusion that this chapter is attempting to spell out a Book of Mormon monetary system (picture eyes rolling here).

Jerry Grover said...

You can also access the link at www.caractors.org (as well as some other free books). The reformed Egyptian is mentioned by Mormon, so the portion that was written by Mormon and Moroni would be in the reformed Egyptian. Mormon is the one who describes the script he was writing in as reformed Egyptian. Kind of enjoyed the prior comment (Anon 10:53) about someone who is apparently impassioned about making extensive blogs about the Book of Mormon but couldn't even read a 220 page book, half of which is pictures/illustrations. Of course one is never going to understand much of any depth or significance with that kind of laziness. As far as dissing engineers who have made progress in deciphering languages, he might want to google John Teeple and the Maya decipherment. Having translated for 25 years, with fluency in multiple languages, my skills are not limited to engineering. Honestly, the hieratic Egyptian is found fairly quickly in the Caractors Document anyway as shown in the book, it wasn't that difficult to spot and did not require a rocket scientist so to speak, especially the numerals.
Kind of a laffer on the money comments as well, money is defined as something used as a way to pay for goods and services and to pay people for their work. It can be coins or bills but doesn't have to be. The Book of Mormon comments that the standard exchange was a measure of grain. Bills and coins are not the only items that civilizations have used for fungible exchange. The book does not say that there is not a monetary system being described in the Book of Mormon, but if one actually reads what it actually says, the standard form of measurement of the 'monetary' system is grain. Of course in any monetary system based on commodity exchange, other commodities can be exchanged (like gold/silver).

Anonymous said...

Please provide a direct quote from the Book of Mormon showing that the money mentioned in Alma 11 is grain. The quotes I provided, based on their proximity in the text, equate wages with gold and silver (and money).

Jerry Grover said...

In ancient commodity based systems lots of items can be traded for other items, with a standard ubiquitous commodity to which the other commodities are measured. Alma 11:4 indicates two elements of the system, "reckoning" and "measurement". The reckoning is described as the relative value within a given commodity (Alma 11:5 and 11:14). The "measurement" or standardized commodity for both the separate gold and separate silver system is identified in Alma 11:7 as a "measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain". You are correct that the judges alone are identified as receiving payment in gold or silver for wages, there is no indication that anyone else was. It was not referred to there as "money". As was previously mentioned, in a commodity based system, one can be paid in many ways, so money is a ubiquitous term. The term money was used in the Old Testament long before any coinage existed (Genesis 43:12). The Nephite description is consistent with other ancient systems. Egyptians used a system of value based on the weights of various metals, especially silver and copper. According to the British Museum, records from the 18th dynasty (1550-1295 B.C.) reveal that the metals themselves were not exchanged between people at that time even though they were used to determine value. The shekel in Israel that was used as the standard for exchange anciently in Israel was a weight measurement. The items that were used in the marketplaces for shekel weight were not coins or even gold or silver, they were stones made of limestone.
The ancient exchange systems are explained a little bit later in the Caractors book, which you said you did not read as you stopped reading the book at the beginning of page 55, so I understand your confusion.

Anonymous said...

Also, please provide a quote showing that "the standard form of measurement in the monetary system is grain." Alma 11 tells us how much grain one could buy with a senum of silver or a senine of gold or a shiblon, but doesn't equate their value to the measure. Study the language carefully. As a non-licensed linguist, you should know the difference between a verb and a preposition and their roles in language:

7 A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain.

In case the distinction isn't clear, it is repeated again later on in the chapter:

15 A shiblon is half of a senum; therefore, a shiblon for half a measure of barley.



Jerry Grover said...

You provided it. The only place a "measure" is identified is in relation to barley. The "equal" and "is" reflect the internal valuation of the commodity gold/silver (reckoning). Anyway, I think this comment chain is played out (at least for me, as I have a job that takes most of my time). Only in the blogoshere can one start with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth and end up discussing the Nephite measurement system!

Everything Before Us said...

Don't leave now Jerry. This chain ain't played out yet. Some of these threads go over a hundred comments. We aren't even past thirty yet.

I think Anon makes a good point. Address it.

Ftan said...

Finding 19th century and 16th century themes in a text supposedly written up to a millennium before is quite a large problem.

This could have been a divinely produced book. There is plenty of evidence that supports that view. In that case there is no problem.

Ftan said...

The only thing that might be provable so far is the presence of Early Modern English. But that does NOTHING to prove the book to be pre-Colombian America. Obviously.

A large amt of early modern English increases the likelihood that it was a divinely produced book. God doesn't lie. Therefore, pre-Columbian America. Of course.

everything before us said...

Ftan,

Come on...evidence of a divinely-produced book!? Is there established a certain criteria by which a book can reasonably be proven to be divinely inspired?

What other books possess evidence of their divine production?

Can we take any book at all and determine if it is divine or not by checking against this criteria?

Ftan said...

Here you implicitly disavow knowing anything about the background of the Book of Mormon, and therefore you betray yourself as an intransigent renegade.

Anonymous said...

Jerry,

In order to believe your logic regarding gold and silver as a commodity, you must make the following assumptions:

1) When the Book of Mormon says "4 Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value," one must assume that the pieces referred to are "a volumetric measurement, especially considering that the raw gold and silver in this era in Mesoamerica were native gold and silver, the gold probably primarily from placer-type deposits that generate small pieces or flakes of gold."

Problems:
a) The Book of Mormon uses biblical language to convey its message. There are dozens of examples in the Old and New Testament of coinage referred to as "pieces." One quick search of the word "pieces of silver" at LDS.org provides 17 examples in the Old Testament alone. Your interpretation of the word "pieces" isn't consistent with other scriptural language.
b) Your concept of the nature of gold and silver being found in small pieces or flakes in the Book of Mormon isn't consistent with the Book of Mormon's description of them: "and they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper."

2) The concept of gold and silver as currency or "money" is foreign to the majority of the population. "The judges alone are identified as receiving payment in gold or silver for wages, there is no indication that anyone else was. It was not referred to there as 'money.'"

Problems:
a) There is no indication that others were not paid in gold and silver for their wages.
b) You say "It was not referred to there as 'money.'" The gold and silver wages are equated to money in verse 20 "Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek." More disturbances & wickedness=more employ=more wages=money according to the suits brought before them. It' simple math--I thought you had a degree in that :)
c) If the majority of the poplulation had no concept of exchanging money for goods or services, then Christ's prophecy in 3Ne 27:32 would have had no meaning to them: "But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold. Christ says "they will sell me," he doesn't say "they will exchange me for a commesurate portion of gold or silver flakes or barley."

Everything Before Us said...

Ftan, you said that such-and-such is evidence of the book being divine. I think this is such a silly thing to say because perceiving divinity in a book is entirely subjective. I simply asked, basically, for a list of criteria that will consistently and effectively reveal a book to be divine. Of course, you can't give me such a list. So, you call me an intransigent renegade, which is so amusing that I will walk to work today with a smile on my face.

Ftan said...

EBU, I am happy to hear it. By all means, find joy in work and life and family and in the Bible. And please know that I heartily assert that you and yours will be happier day to day and throughout life if you cease from attacking the Book of Mormon, directly or indirectly. God speed.

Everything Before Us said...

I love it, Ftan. That good ol' Mormon friendliness. Kill them with kindness...er....I mean...convert them with kindness. Works at least a fraction of the time.

I don't attack the BoM. I attack the myths, legends, and lies that are built up around the BoM. The book itself isn't worth attacking. The content, the doctrine anyway, isn't much to contend with. I would agree with about 99% of it.

But the book is used as bait. It gets you into what you think is a Christian organization, preaching of this Eternal God who never changes from all eternity to all eternity. But then, after you get in, you start hearing rumors about this God who actually wasn't God from all eternity, but was once a man.

By then, you are usually so fully invested that escape is difficult.