Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fellow Mormons - Could You Please Do Some Thinking for Me?

I received a cheery Christmas email from a fellow Christian who noticed I was Mormon. Someone has been doing his thinking for him, and I thought I would reciprocate by giving you a chance to suggest how I might respond. His beef of the day with Mormons is that the Book of Mormon mentions the use of cement in construction in the ancient Americas (though he's also puzzled by the reference to steel mills and copper mills, which also puzzles me since I can't find those references in my edition). Should I abandon my faith now, or is there anything that can be said in light of this assault?

Here is the message, hot off my Inbox:
They built cement houses from the North Sea to the South Sea and from the West Sea to the East Sea. They really got me with the North and South Sea?

And with no trees around you can't make cement without trees didn't you know that?

And cement walls could never stand very long even the wind would knock them down

And when you find a cement house let me know

And all those steel mills and copper mills have you found them yet?

Don't let other people do your thinking for you

God Bless and take care

You friend in Christ Ron
I'm not sure where Ron is from, but probably a place with very strong winds. I'd appreciate your helpful suggestions, even though I do address the issue of cement in the Book of Mormon in my LDSFAQ pages.


Anonymous said...

Strong winds.

That sounds like SE Idaho. :)

Anonymous said...

Methinks most of the warmest winds blow straight from the pulpit of his we're-Christians-but-Mormons-are-cultists church. It's clear that he hasn't done enough of his own thinking to open the Book of Mormon to verify what his preacher has told him. Steel mills? Copper mills? And what did they use as the foundation for his own church building if cement/concrete walls blow down chez lui?

Dan Olsen said...

How would I respond?

Dear friend in Christ, I appreciate your question. In regards to cement being used please see my January 22, 2005 post at http://www.jefflindsay.com/mormanity/mormanity-01-05.shtml

There are many self-professed intellectuals that would make a mockery of faith in any form, i.e. if I can't see it I won't believe it. As such, they probably don't believe that Moses was able to turn a staff into a snake, or that Elisha made an axe head float on water, or that Christ and Peter both walked on water for that matter. They undoubtedly don't accept that Christ restored the sight of the blind, raised the dead, made the lame to walk, or rose from the dead Himself.

Fortunately for us, The Holy Spirit can and does bear witness of truth. See John 16:13.

As stated in Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I'm grateful when science or archeology attests to the truths of the things I've always believed, like there being cement in ancient America. But if we didn't accept certain things, without tangible physical proof, we would have a hard time being Christians.

Yours always in Christ,

I'd probably write somthing like that. Good luck.
Dan Olsen

David Stoker said...

Sorry, can't help, I can't think for myself either. (I wonder if I was supposed to say that, I'll have to check on that and get back to you)

Anonymous said...

Ask him to define "cement". What the Book of Mormon calls cementmay not be identical to the Portland cement we are all familiar with. Perhaps Joseph Smith just picked a word that he thought best described what he was trying to translate. Maybe adobe would've been more accurate. Or maybe not.

Anonymous said...

Umm.... http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms:Cement

Bookslinger said...

Jeff was being Socratic. Asking a question for which he already had the answer. Dan-and-Wendy pointed out Jeff's web page where he already addressed the many evidences of the ancient use of cement in the New World.

Brian Duffin said...

Well, Jeff, I think I would send him a fruit cake with the letter. :-) I have always thought fruit cake is a good substitute for cement.

Anonymous said...

A quick search on google and you'll find references to "steel mills" in the Book of Mormon on anti-Mormon sites.

When are the critics going to stop regurgitating the same old stuff while accusing us of being mindless/duped/brainwashed/idiots/(insert your own insult here)?

Kathleen said...

Ummm....hmmmm....cough, cough, cough.

Perhaps you could reply by asking him where the references to mills are. ;)

Drew E said...


I know you are being facetious, but at least this presents an opportunity to bare testimony of the Book of Mormon.

With your knowledge and LDS FAQ resource you have the ability to communicate a lot of research and understanding on cement in the New World. If he is honest in his intentions he will appreciate this.

At the very least he will see that you are somewhat informed on what you believe.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

The Philippines are full of cement houses. In a country where typhoons blow regularly, a cement house is 100% stronger than a nipa hut.

Anonymous said...

I for one will not except the bible until all the facts are in. Please let me know when this happens so I can look into it.

Rob Higginbotham said...

You're kidding? There were no trees around?? Well, that sucks! I knew it...I just knew that the wilderness had no trees...

Anonymous said...

The word wilderness, which is more frequently used than desert of the region of the Exodus, more nearly approaches the meaning of the Hebrew, though not quite expressing it.

Anonymous said...

These kinds of antis need to look in the mirror. "There are no archeological evidences of gold mills or smelting in South America... Blah Blah Blah" First of all, how are we hurting them in any way whatsoever? Second, show me in the geological record, scientific proof of a flood that covered the Earth any time in the last 6000 - 7000 years. Show me archeological proof that there actually was a man named Jesus and that he was crucified and rose after three days. Where is the archeological evidence that Israelites were used as slaves to build the great pyramid? Show any archeological proof of the parting of the Red Sea. Where is the scientific proof that a new star shone over Bethlehem? Where is the archeological proof...? Ancient writings can hardly stand to modern scrutiny. How many "real christians" own a mini van or a jeep and simply refer to it as a car? If a modern Christian kept an journal and referred to his Jeep as a car, BUT the public record of the day clearly stated that he drove an SUV, would that make all other beliefs, statements and writings null and void?

Look at Greek mythology for a moment. All we have to do is look at the cyclops. It has been found that a previous civilization (I'm not going to take the time for references here. Dig a little online and you can find all you want.) found the abundant dinosaur bones in the region and because of their religious beliefs made stone coffins and rearranged the bones they found in a somewhat human form and buried them. Later the Greeks found these stone coffins and built an entire religion/mythology around mammoth/mastodon bones, among other mythological creatures. Should we dismiss all the Greek philosophy that we revere today as the first democracy? We can't prove their mythological beliefs, but we can allow for these idiots who thought a mammoth was a cyclops to be some of the greatest minds in the history of the world.

Just an FYI there were horses and "elephants" in the Americas before the spaniards came. As far back as 4 M years ago, modern horse skeletons have been found. Oh WAIT!!! We are talking Christian timelines here. SO, as recent as 6000 years ago (in the Christian timeline), there were horses in in both North and South America. If carbon dating can be off by 4M years, then it can easily be off by another 4 thousand years and any Christian who believes in a 6000 year life span of the Earth, MUST allow for horses in the Americas during both the Jaredite and Nephite time periods.

Revelations states, "And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men." Since there is not archeological record of locusts shaped like horses prepared for battle with crowns on their heads and faces like men, should we build Web sites with the sole purpose of discrediting the Bible and disproving Nicene Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Readers here may have more knowledge about this stuff than I do, but in the interest of fairness I must point out that the letter writer wasn't referring to "mills" mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but "steel" is mentioned and the writer is assuming the need for a steel mill in order to create the steel. (This is addressed in http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms:Metals)

The thing with the trees is a reference to Helaman 3:7 where Mormon says something to the effect of "since timber was scarce, people had to make their houses out of cement." (This also is addressed in Mormanity's blog at http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2004/08/helaman-3-and-problem-of-deforestation.html)