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FAIR: Wordprint analysis and the Book of Mormon

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  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 11:48 a.m.

    While this is the first I have read about this particular research study, it does strike me as odd that these researchers did not include Joseph Smith himself as the supposed author of the Book of Mormon, especially when you consider the claims of other Book of Mormon critics.

    Many LDS critics point to Lucy Mack Smith's writings, talking about how when Joseph was little he would rehearse stories to his family about the Ancient Americans.

    Other critics point to so-called parallels between Joseph Smith's personal experiences growing up in 19th Century New York and stories from the Book of Mormon including King Benjamin's sermon.

    One question I have for the critics is:

    If Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon, why did he not expose the truth after his time in Liberty Jail or after he lost his position in LDS leadership following Smith's death?

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Still fighting about religion, one way or another.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    ...But for some reason, I still won't be surprised when the Deckers and Tanners of the world quote this "study" as gospel.

    Coming soon to a "Christian" bookstore near you.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    Now that BoM evidences

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    We know that BoM evidences are mountainous and inexplicable. And one witness to this is that anti-Mormons are forced to lie, alter historical documents, manipulate studies, etc.

    I read the other wordprint study done by anti-Mormons, and their scientific method was to keep eliminating words and phrases until they got the desired result.

    Someone should do a study on what motivates people to fight against a faith all day, every day. Are they trying to justify falling? Give reason for hate? Deny cowardice? I don't know : ) it's interesting though....

    Maybe someone here can tell us???

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 8, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    JM - this article prives nothing other than the study that the "anti's" (as you always classify anybody who doesn't agree with you on anything or believe what you believe) did on the spaulding theory was flawed. That is it. It proves nothing. If you think this is proof that the Book of Mormon is true, it isn't. You think it is more likely that an angel, who couldn't dig up the golden plates himself, told Joseph where to find them. God helped Joseph translate them through a special rock in a hat, and then after he was done that same angel took the plates that he couldn't help Joseph dig up into heaven with him. This is your belief, and you think that is a more logical explanation than Joseph and others writing it and trying to make a profit from the book? Yeah, seems more logical to me. Sarcastic of course.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    MR Bull : )

    The BoM is proven true daily, but I didn't say this article does it.....

    Still, you and I know that you have been unable to refute the mountains of auxiliary evidence (which we have discussed at length). This failure is a point of interest. It reminds me of a basketball game I played with a younger boy in High School. We played to ten. He got an eight point lead. He only had to make 1 basket and game was over. If anyone, (including those who have spent their lives trying to prove the BoM false for 200 years) had even one valid proof against the BoM, game would have been over long ago....: ).

    I'm somewhat sorry about my plainness of speech : ), but we have been discussing this for a long time, and I think your lifetime should be spent trying to help people, encouraging faith, etc.

    You will never get that satisfaction of HONESTLY winning at this game.

    I'm gong now, so let the strawman fly : ) : ) still luvya as always.....don't run anymore : ) it's true, we both know it...

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 8, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    Two men were walking down a path and they came upon a treasure chest. The first man opened the treasure chest and found wonderful spritual truths inside and rejoiced at what he found. The other man refused to look inside the chest but only wanted to debate theories of where the chest came from and therefore missed the wonderful blessings of the treasure! Which man was more logical?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    @JM
    "We know that BoM evidences are mountainous and inexplicable."

    I don't think inexplicable is the word you were looking for...

    Besides, one can't prove negatives so rather than attempt to discount the book of mormon I will look for the evidence as to why it would be true and frankly I've found the evidence lacking which is why I left the church to be honest with myself (after all, if one doesn't believe in the covenants they took, then you should leave after seriously thinking about the issue, to maintain honesty).

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    The LDS church has misrepresented the "translation" of the BOM for a few generations. Pictures of Joseph Smith "translating" the Golden plates behind a cloth screen while Martin Harris scribes is down is a common picture.
    He didn't translate anything, it was revealed to him through a seer stone he looked at in a hat while the Golden Plates laid under a cloth.
    This is not "anti" and can easily looked up with little effort on lds.org.
    JM - Religion is a power tool, and when someone feels lied to, it can blow their mind in not such a good way. The Church has enemies because some feel the church has wronged them. That simple.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    Sorry to say but you can only defend the BOM with blind obedience and ignorance for so long. None of it can be truly defended and almost everything can be disputed. Even LDS authority comments on certain aspects or tough questions leave you with nothing to ponder. You'd think a prophet could answer ANY questions about the church, including it's history, but asking God right?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    Jm - I appreciate your response, but as you can imagine, I disagree with most of what you say. First, you say for me not to run away. I am right here, ready to discuss any facts that you would like. Never have ran, never will. Second, the book of mormon is only proven daily by those who choose to believe, not by those who look at factual evidence. Many people would say the Koran is proven daily, and that they know it is the word of god, but that doesn't make it so. There are many evidences against the book of mormon, probably as many as there are for it. No facts so far have been able to prove factually that is is 100% false, and for sure no facts have been able to prove it true %100. There are evidences for both sides, and I am being honest with myself when I say I am not sure if it is or isn't. But I tend to lean toward it is NOT when I carefully examine facts and use logic. That is my conclusion, you have your own, and I have mine. Still fund to discuss it though, for some.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:32 p.m.

    What it all comes down to is that some who don't believe the Book of Mormon are compelled (obsessive-compulsive type compelled) to find an explanation for its existence that does not include any part played by God. These people are probably the best and most honest of all, because they recognize the moral obligations the Book of Mormon would place on them if it were from God. Most people in the world could care less. My take is that the people who are compelled to disprove the Book of Mormon are somehow locked in a relationship with what it says. People compelled to disprove LDS beliefs are hopelessly locked in a relationship with the Church. They have to prove that God did not do this, did not appear to Joseph. Again, this is probably because they are more honest and ethical that the millions who are apathetic over the whole thing. Hats off to you all! We're still going and growing after 180 years of criticism. Maybe we need you more than you need us. Obscurity would be worse, and you help us out of obscurity.

  • BBB2010 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    Being a part of the Church means that you have to have faith. If you knew everything there was to know about the Church and had all the evidence in the world to prove that it was true, then why would you need faith..... The purpose of having faith in something is exactly that, having faith in it. As soon as someone finds actual evidence that the BoM is not true, and not just some theories (which won't happen) then I will reconsider my faith.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    I guess the researchers think Oliver Cowdery lied when he said Spaulding didn't write the book. They don't seem to care what he said about it. Oh well.

  • Matthew75 CULPEPER, VA
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    The reason that Joseph Smith was not included is that the amount of material written by him (as opposed to dictated by him, which is what he mostly did) was too small. There have been several studies of this kind done and they all exclude Joseph for the same reason. The omission of him as a candidate is breathlessly report both by FAIR and the Desnews as though it shows a bias of some kind. Think about that for a second. If there really is a bias operating, wouldn't the authors of the study love nothing more than to show Joseph was the author? I'm not surprised that FAIR doesn't mention this. But shouldn't a competent report include a phone call to Ben Criddle to ask him about this issue? He's not exactly a recluse.

  • Kbanderson COLUMBUS, OH
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    Another interesting aspect of this that was glossed over. How does each of the candidates compare when you break each of the books into different sections. While each book has its own personality, it is generally difficult to dramatically change style over a large section of text. So even comparing some of the larger books like 2 Ne, Mosiah, and Alma, should still generate a different authorship.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    DN Editorial Staff: Your censorship is frustrating.

    LDS/BYU professors first used "word print analysis" to support LDS Church claims about authorship of the Book of Mormon.

    Larsen, Rencher, and Layton (1980) concluded that the BOM authors were distinct from each other and Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, Jr., and Solomon Spaulding.

    Then came Croft, Hilton and "the Berkeley Group," and others. Even today, LDS apologists cite wordprint evidence supporting faithful BOM authorship claims.

    Many LDS "wordprint" studies have not been published in peer-reviewed journals or subjected to the scholarly rigor required for such publication.

    So, Jockers, Witten & Criddle (2008) employed a recognized and validated methodology (Nearest Shrunken Centroid classification, or NSC) to their wordprint study, and published it in a respectable peer-reviewed journal. It contradicts LDS beliefs about BOM authorship.

    Jockers & Witten (2010) systematically validated the NSC method as superior to other known methods for authorship attribution.

    So, Schaalje, Fields, Roper, & Snow (2011) _invented_ "A New Method For Open-Set Authorship Attribution" by "extending" the NSC method (this is in their title). But their method is unproven, has not been validated, and has produced results best described as incoherent and unclear.

    Jockers & Witten will respond.

  • Matthew75 CULPEPER, VA
    Aug. 8, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    Ha. That should have been Craig Criddle. :)

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    DN Editorial Staff: How can you publish Mountainman's parable but deny mine?

    Here is another parable for you:

    Two men were walking down a path and they came upon a box. The first man grabbed it, hid it and wouldn't show it to the second man, but claimed the box contained "a sacred record" written on gold plates, that proved that the first man was the one and only prophet of god", and that the second man must obey him and give him money, or else be shunned in this life and perish in damnation in the next life.

    The second man ignored the first man, continued on his journey to his family's home, enjoyed a wonderful life, and read in the paper the horrible things people did to the first man for what he had done with the box.

    Which man was more logical?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 8, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    Brahmabull,

    Agreed the article does not prove that the Book of Mormon is true. Nor was that its point. It was to show that an academic paper purporting to prove the Book of Mormon false was poorly researched and likely motivated by animus. Which I think it proved.

    BTW, who said Moroni couldn't dig up the plates himself? God allows Moses to perform all these miracles but why not just kill Pharaoh and the Egyptian armies upfront? Joseph receives many dreams, but not one to save him from slavery. Jacob is a prophet, but does not know his son (Joseph) is alive. Naaman has to wash in the River Jordan. Why can't Elisha just heal him? Christ uses spittle and mud to anoint the blind man's eyes. Why can't he just say something or put his hands on him? On and on it goes. Each miraculous event opens the door to question or critique - if we are so disposed.

  • alien236 LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    @Kbanderson: A study was done in the eighties I think it was, by academics of various faiths, that did generate a different authorship for each book and did not indicate Joseph Smith or any of his contemporaries. I can't link to it because no urls are allowed but it's on the Neal A. Maxwell Institute website.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    To most of the commenters on this board, the church, it's leaders, and apologist's, are the source of all truth no matter what the facts really say. Their conclusions to all debates has been pre-determined by this methodology. Anyone who challenges this is seen as anti-mormon, when in fact, a lot of us are Mormons that believe in many principals, but not neccesarily everything that has been presented by these sources. What i mean by this is that once a person decides to be fair, objective, and look for truth from various sources (the other side of the story) and they find out it's not what they thought it was, it can devistate them.It turns their world upside down.
    It's funny, were trying to help the church, and were called names or censored.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    From the perspective of an LDS convert from the no-God background. I did not have enough faith to believe the Bible. But I found enough to believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and from that was able to believe the Bible. I am puzzled at the arguments "I cannot believe an angel brought the plates" coming from those who profess a belief in the Bible. How can one believe that Christ walked on water, raised the dead, and rose himself from the dead? How can one believe that Phillip was teleported from one place to another? How can one believe that God could make man out of the dust of the earth? All of it coming from a book written almost 2000 years ago! And yet cannot believe that a young man could see an angel in modern times!
    Maybe what they imagine to be their faith in the Bible is merely belief by tradition. If so, I would encourage you to develop a true living faith in the Bible first. Which in truth I do not know how to do without the Book of Mormon.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:05 p.m.

    @Midvaliean 1:45

    I wouldn't throw a sheet over the entire Book of Mormon simply because a few artist renditions here and there have some inaccuracies.

    Don't forget, there are famous paintings of historical events such as George Washington's crossing of the Delaware and the signing of the Declaration of Independence which many historians agree are inaccurate.

    @LValfre 2:02

    It's pretty easy to throw out terms such as "blind obedience" or "ignorance" when describing those with whom you disagree with. It is often quite harder to give point-by-point examples of where people's arguments are flawed.

    This is why so much of what I read from critics of the Book of Mormon, as well as the LDS Church, provides me with little if any new information. Sorry, but simple character assassination doesn't wash with me.

    I recently read a blog where some activist was attacking a recent Ensign Magazine article, calling it an "Anti-Gay Manifesto" even though homosexuality or same-sex marriage were never mentioned once in the talk. The blogger had to admit this fact, only to come back by saying the talk was written in "code" but he cited absolutely no examples.

  • john in az tempe, az
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    so rather than Fields that statistian doing his own research, he just mudslings someone else's work?

    Perhaps Fields can do his own study and shown how wrong they really are.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    I'm glad that people are including a scientific approach to the Book of Mormon. I met an FLDS member a few years ago that told me he knew that Warren Jeffs was a prophet and that the FLDS church was God's only true church, because he had prayed about it and received confirmation that is was true. He said that no amount of scientific evidence would change his mind. It was a matter of faith.

    It is no wonder then that we now see FLDS followers voluntarily handing over their young children for Jeffs to rape and abuse. They likely had it confirmed to them that he was acting for God as he told them in recordings. We cannot rely solely on spiritual feelings to find good or truth. We must use our intellect and common sense as well. To say that we know this or that is true based on such feelings is a dangerous position to be in, especially when it conflicts with known facts or common sense.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    There are actually several reasons why no wordprint analysis could be performed on the Book of Mormon to the satisfaction of objectivity.

    If you accept divine authorship then you believe that the majority of the text was abridged by Mormon. In other words, you shouldn't expect the text to show multiple authors. If it did, and the analysis were valid, that would present a completely new set of problems.

    Additionally, the Book of Mormon was allegedly written in an unknown language, ie, "reformed egyptian". This matter is further complicated that even contemporary Mormon scholars cannot decide on exactly how the book was translated. Was it word for word from R. Egyptian to english? Was it RE translated using Joseph Smith's words? Or, was it word for word from God to Joseph Smith, though not necessarilly word for word from the text on the plates to the English we have it in now? So the science is invalid under the divine authorship assumption.

    If you believe that it is 19th century fiction, then you have to account for the fact it heavily plagiarizes the bible, and was written in KJV 1611 style, mitigating comparative analysis.

    These methods just won't work!

  • estreetshuffle Window Rock, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    just read and pray about it; one will get the answer to its truthfulness; however, it requires effort. come on man its simple. God's ways are simple; it is man that makes things complicated.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    Every time I read about another attempt to dis-prove anything about the LDS church it just strengthens my belief. If it were not divine, Satan wouldn't be working so hard using dupes to prove it wrong.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    The divine origin of the Book of Mormon was itself disputed.

    In Moroni7:47. "But charity(love) is the pure love of Christ . Makes no sense in the original Greek. Charity, mid-12c.,benevolence for the poor," caritas from the Latin Vulgate often used as translation of Greek, agape "love". Charity is the Latin translation of agape(love).

    The Love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Charity(love)never fails( 1Cor 13:8) or Faith hope and Charity(love)(1 Corinthians 13:13).This is why Christians Churches have several different Bible modern translations do to discoveries of earlier and better MS than the(TR/KJV)and better scholarship like;JS was not aware that Jehovah is a mistranslation of YHWH.

    JS simply mis-undesrsttod the KJV poor translations.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    @Midvaliean 1:45

    I wouldn't throw a sheet over the entire Book of Mormon story simply because of a few artist renditions here and there may be inaccurate. Don't forget that many artist renditions of historical events such as George Washington's crossing of the Delaware as well as the signing of the Declaration of Independence also contain inaccuracies.

    @LValfre 2:02

    If you want to try and convince people the Book of Mormon is false, you're going to have to do better than using words such as "blind obedience" or "ignorant." If anything, these words show desperation on the part of critics.

    When someone brings nothing to a debate except character assassination, they've already lost.

  • JohnCBennett Polk City, Iowa
    Aug. 8, 2011 5:15 p.m.

    Since he used a rock in his hat could it be that he was channeling different spirits and that is the reason for the various authors? Wasn't the rock the exact same one he used to try to find the silver mine (and failed) in palmyra?

    Show me any non-mormon scientist that thinks the BOM is what it purports to be. Think about the damning evidence:
    DNA
    Lack of any real archeology evidence--by their own admission the best is "NHM" written on a different continent. That is the "best". Scary.
    Linguistic studies--what happened to hebrew? How come the native americans don't talk any root form of hebrew? Oh yeah, they are chinese--see dna
    Where are the horses?

    I've read the supposed evidences for the book of mormon. They are at best cherry picked random occurances that rather than "prove" it true, lend credence to the critics that say apologists use cheap parlor tricks. Come to think of it, JS was the biggest con around (until Warren Jeffs eclipsed him) so I guess it makes sense those tactics are in wide use today with his followers.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    @full disclosure 3:37

    You said - "To most of the commenters on this board, the church, it's leaders, and apologist's, are the source of all truth no matter what the facts really say."

    One could make the exact same claim regarding critics of the LDS Church, but such any such claim in and of itself is silly. Just because one researcher disagrees with another doesn't mean the first is pouting, "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

    You said - "Anyone who challenges this is seen as anti-mormon, when in fact, a lot of us are Mormons that believe in many principals, but not neccesarily everything that has been presented by these sources."

    Another silly claim. I would say the vast majority of articles and books I've read in defense of the church rarely use the term "anti-Mormon" when discussing critics' findings. Of course we see the term "anti-Mormon" all over the place on comment boards like this, but we also see words like "cult" "brain wash" "mental gymnastics and "blind obedience" too.

    I don't always agree with FAIR's findings myself, but your analysis puts a blanket attack on everything from FAIR which is hardly honest research.

  • kishkumen American Fork, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    FAIR is right. It had to have been written by Joseph Smith while looking at his peep stone in his hat.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    To JM:

    You stated, "Someone should do a study on what motivates people to fight against a faith all day, every day. Are they trying to justify falling? Give reason for hate? Deny cowardice? I don't know : ) it's interesting though...."

    ---

    I don't even know how I can word this in a way that expresses how I really feel about your statement. Simply said, it is true. It is so very absolutely true.

  • Ryan Larsen BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    A couple years ago, I wrote a response to the Jockers et al study. I contacted FAIR with it. If you'd like to read my response, just google "Jockers et al" and it should appear as the top result (second result down if you simply google Jockers et al without quotes)

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    Faith seems to be rather subjective and seems to be more of an emotional feeling and hope than a means of knowing something to be true or false. Whether it be Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, Mormonism, Islam or Scientology, the way that you know the most important things in those religions is by faith. Faith in a book, faith in a teaching, faith in a tradition or faith in a man. As we hear the claims of these various groups we have to ask serious questions and we have to have a healthy level of skepticism and doubt since there are so many competing claims that cannot all be true. We know that there are many psychological reasons for people to believe in various unusual things but they each have to be examined on their own merits. If faith is defined in any way as the absence of questioning or doubt then faith seems to not only be an unreliable means of finding truth, but it seems to actually get in the way of finding truth. If truth exists and faith can be misunderstood, then not questioning ones faith will definitely get in the way of a person finding truth.

  • dtlenox Olympia, WA
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    Believing or not believing the Book of Mormon to be of divine origin, is similar to a belief or non-belief in God, or in particular religious beliefs or doctrine in general. None of these beliefs can be proven or dis-proven in a scientific manner, and it is "designed" to be that way as part and parcel of mortality. One has to search and discover these things on a personal basis, receiving answers or not receiving answer(s) based on the true desires of one's heart, and on one's motives and actions, much like a seed that is planted and either nourished by faith and action or neglected and left to wither away. Enough physical evidence is given to provide a basis or starting point for belief or unbelief, so that a persons choice can then be based on their innate desires rather than by being forced to believe or disbelieve by definitive scientific prove one way or the other.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    There is plenty of evidence to support the Book of Mormon if you want to believe in it, but if you don't want to believe it is the word of God you can choose to believe the evidence against it. There is no unquestionable absolute evidence either way, so it is your choice according to your desires.

    I believe it is from God and have chosen to live my life accordingly. Someday, in the next life, we will all know the truth. If I find out that it is not true I will have no regrets for having lived my life without alcohol, drugs, immorality, dishonesty, or hate. I will not regret making temple covenants that lead me to serve others, be faithful to my husband, and live a family oriented life. I can't think of anything in my life as an active Latter-day saint that I would regret if I learned it wasn't true. I love it all-the temple, Sunday meetings, callings, missions, family history research, and family life in the Church.

    How will those who have left the Church feel if they find out that what they rejected is really true?

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:38 p.m.

    I think the biggest (unintended) casualty here, is probably the ability to use wordprint analysis in *support* of the Book of Mormon.

    The whole technique seems pretty fuzzy.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    1 Corinthians says it best (I believe in chapters 1-3) "the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God." I would guess critics of Book of Mormon also have an axe to grind with the New Testament. It is too simple for our hyper-educated elitist culture. The gospel is simple. But to make money we need to get into complexities and that can mislead us to disregard the simple. Better to be simple, poor and uneducated------- than to be rich, educated and opinionated (which is foolishness to God.)

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 6:52 p.m.

    Here's reasons to fight against faith:

    If all the clergy never uttered another word from a pulpit and if no-one ever tried to convince their children that they should believe in mythical beings and events that go against the laws of the universe and if all the religious people in the world kept their beliefs to themselves, then there would be no need to speak out. But none of that happens - we are subjected to a constant barrage of religious propaganda and if it were not answered, many would assume there was no other answer and would go steadily down the slippery slope of faith. If people are swayed by faith rather than evidence, reason, and logic then they are letting emotion, religious leaders, or dogma make their choices. It's also important to me that not only do I encourage people to think for themselves and question their beliefs but that I also encourage other related values like free-speech, human rights and democratic freedom not based solely on religious precepts. The invention of the internet has made it possible to spread facts and opinions and questions across the world. Because religion often speaks....the opposition speaks as well.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Aug. 8, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    As I try to work through what I believe about LDS teachings, probably the most impactful thing that keeps coming back to me is the universal nature of faith, religious experiences, and spiritual conviction of one's choice of religion.

    Millions upon millions who hold a conviction for Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, the different branches of Christianity including Mormonism, and other minor or major religious beliefs - ALL experience a strong spiritual experience/conviction of the truthfullness of their chosen religion. ALL are persuaded to become better through their chosen religion.

    And yet the teachings of each can greatly vary from one another.

    Do we really think that a loving God will reward or punish us depending upon whether we made the right choice of religion when each religion is equally able to inspire spiritual feelings of surety and truthfullness? In actuality some religious experiences FAR exceed those typically shared within Mormonism.

    If I have gained a testimony of anything through my study and prayer, it is that God will NOT judge us based upon the Church or religion we were a member of. We will be judged by the way we do or do not love and serve others. Period.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 8, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    @ Vanka 3:03 PM.
    Your analogy is false because at least 12 other people saw and handled the gold plates. None of them ever denied their experience! You can read their testimonies in the front of the Book of Mormon!

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 8:19 p.m.

    Mountainman,

    Your analogy is false because it is fictional.

    Just like the Book of Mormon.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    I find it interesting and worth pointing to the many major assumptions made by all the people who set themselves up as experts on what form god takes, how he thinks, how he would act, how he would treat people, how he will judge people, how he will punish or reward people, what he would say and do and want from us based basically on various religious doctrines. Spiritual feelings of surety and truthfulness need not be based on a God or book, but can be felt as a universal necessity to the well-being of all mankind. Spiritual feelings can be based on knowing that the universe performs according to the laws created by its mere existence with no need for a man-made creator. Teachings by a religion while often helpful to many are not universally needed for ones progression in a positive way through life. Most of the things people gain from religion can be gained without it. One need not believe or choose any religion to be a good person. I could call this my "testimony" because spiritually this is the "truth" I have found. What is testimony other than ones personal reality?

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 8, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    Mr. Bennett: Your claim that there is not any archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is clearly not based on any personal knowledge of ancient Americas. There is plenty of parallel evidence. The following is a short list of things I have personally compiled through study of the Book of Mormon and study of scholarly (mostly non-LDS authors) of ancient Americans:

    1)Joseph Smith claimed that an ancient American civilization existed with a people who had written language at a time when such a thing was considered ludicrous. We now know that Mayans had a a civilization and a written language.

    2)Joseph Smith claimed that the language was "reformed Egyptian." In their book, A Forest of Kings, Schele & Freidel reform to Maya written language as "reformed Egyptian."

    3)The Book of Mormon measures time from at least two major events: Lehi's trip to the New World & the reign of the judges. Two calender dates. The Maya similarly had two calenders: one starting from a more ancient date; the second much later.

    More coming.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 8, 2011 9:44 p.m.

    4)The BofM makes a really big deal of temples and like Isaiah calls them "mountains of the Lords House." The Maya -- as well as many other Native American peoples -- built their temples on top of "mountains."

    5)BofM claims boats went to other places carrying people. Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated that using native rafts to sail to other places in the South Pacific is plausible.

    6)BofM discusses "highways" between populated places. Those clearly marked ancient highways are there.

    7)BofM demonstrates that there was frequent and sometimes constant warfare between Nephites and Lamanites. Early theories suggested that they were a peaceful people, but that is very obviously been refuted. Like the BofM, Native Americans -- especially those in the central American region -- were frequently and often constantly at war with each other.

    8)BofM talks about frequent migrations of people. No question this is so among the Native Americans, especially in the central American region where "new leaders" frequently originate from distant places after migrating -- also like BofM peoples.

    More coming.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 8, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    Don't you love articles dealing with the Latter-day Saints.

    There is still time for a simple test. Try this. Read the Book of Mormon for yourself, ponder over the truths set forth, allow the words to settle deep into your hearts, and then set your sophistry and pride and anger aside, and just ask God, once and for all, if this book is indeed what in is purported to be. Oh what joy. Think of it: truth and light springing forth from the earth; another testament shining forth to the glory and witness of Jesus Christ; and God peeling back the darkness of a very long night and speaking again to man on the earth as he did for thousands of years previously. Today we live the promised times of restitution of all things. Right now. This is it. This is the prophesied record of Joseph being joined with that of Judah to bless all the earth. This is Isaiah's "marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Don't miss it. Let it bless your life, like it has millions of others.

  • GiantSquid salt lake, utah
    Aug. 8, 2011 10:51 p.m.

    Regarding your 8 points of evidence-

    1 and 4-8 are so vague as to be completely meaningless.

    2 is almost definitely false. As far as I can tell no respectable scholars link the Mayan language in any way to Egyptian.

    I am less certain about point 3, but it also seems to be false. The Mayans had a yearly and a cumulative calendar starting from a certain date. They did not have two cumulative calendars as you claim.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 11:00 p.m.

    Joggle-----50 years ago you would have been right: that a person can be good without religion-----today------that category of people is decreasing. Yes there are good atheists-----they are probably better at me in many categories----but they will soon be extinct----no neutrality with Christianity-- (by the way---a good moral honest atheist can make it into the terrestial kingdom which will be heaven for many people--much better than the dark telestial kingdom we now live in). To your point that religious people would be tolerable if they would just keep their religion to themselves-------that would be selfish though----to believe in something and not share it. If a person believes, they should share. If you find a good food diet, you share it, or any good idea for that matter. Yes, it is true us religious people can bother others with our missionary work, but that is because we love you-----yes we love enough to bother. Being nice is admirable----but just keeping the 10 commandments alone will get nobody into the Celestial kingdom. We must learn to love and forgive and serve.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    @Christoph

    I'll use my last post to say...I disagree that...today...good people without religion are decreasing. I'm sure I've lived in that non-religious world more than you and I see it as increasing. The good news is that young people are joining the rising atheist movement in increasing numbers. Europe and the rest of the developed world in shucking off the rusty chains of ancient superstition and questionable religions. Religions in America have tried to argue that atheism and secularism would destroy the foundations of society. Today we can find any number of societies where the majority has freely abandoned religion and God. Far from being dens of iniquity, these societies are the happiest, safest, and most successful in the world. Atheists have long been saying that we can be good without God. The new atheism says that we can be better without God. Atheist don't have to actively share their beliefs because when the light of knowledge shines through it speaks volumes of logic and reason without having to defend itself with preaching, evangelizing, or prothylizing. We all can love, forgive, and serve without religion. It doesn't take religion to do that either.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    Vanka: I don't know which man was more logical, because your story was flawed. It does not include the information that 3 men saw an angel holding what was in the box, who testified to them that what was in the bax was the word of God, nor does it include the information about the 8 men who handled and closely examined what was in the box. Your story also does not indicate that all 11 men testified, in writing, and signed their testimony. In addition, I have never read an account of the man who found the box asking for money for himself, for his own use, but only for the benefit and growth of the Church (your story is full of bias and assumption), but have read about said man receiving revelations from God about paying tithing to the Church and this man taught the substances of these revelations to his followers. So, Vanka, which man really was more logical - he who wouldn't listen, invistigate, and find out for himself, or the man who listened to God and an angel and followed their counsel? Which one, Vanka?

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    And, Joggle, the opposition is Satan, the Devil, he who wanted to ursurp God's power and authority, was banned along with his followers to the earth, where they are the opposition to God's will and to His followers. A person is either for God or against God. If he or she is against God, then that person is a follower of Satan, the adversary, the opposition.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    Joggle, I'll be honest- I simply don't want to take the time to address your justification to fight religion. If you feel that way, I believe it would take a lot more than I care to argue on this point right now. I'll offer one point and no more today, perhaps another time.

    The only thing I would offer is that nothing is definitively 100% provable and irrefutable. Arguments that justify fighting religion wouldn't last long in a moral or ethics classroom. If the students didn't find the flaws, the professors certainly would. I have used reason and logic to support faith (by certain definitions anyway) on these comment sections. I have provided logic in forums what as the recent article on what makes 'Mormon's tick' and others, regarding the very issue of whether it's okay to fight someone on their beliefs. Fighting begets fighting. The idea that the claim 'you are wrong' would justify any harassment of that idea is a violent one. As much as anti-religious people sometimes claim that religion is violent (because of specific accounts), I'd point out that irreligious is a belief all the same, potentially just as violent.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Aug. 9, 2011 5:16 a.m.

    There needs to be an explanation also of how Rigdon "used" Joseph Smith to write the Book of Mormon when they did not meet until 1831, two years after it was published. Did Grandin ever meet Rigdon? Did Martin Harris, who mortgaged everything to financ the publishing of the book? Like most conspiracy theories, it requires that many people keep their mouths (and pens) quiet which is impractical and implausible. Even the people who wrote the Nauvoo Expositor hold to the Book of Mormon as true, while criticizing the practices of Joseph Smith. Somoene had to know back then, if this theory is true.

    Like most pop history (eg. Dan Brown), we are hooked on easy research that "unearths" truths that others haven't discovered in centuries of serious searching, interviewing, and research.

    I've read all kinds of theories and researched both sides. I've also travelled around Central America and had non LDS guides show me things that backed up the Book of Mormon, without them knowing I am LDS. I've lived and travelled in the Mediterranean and studied Near Eastern history. I'm convinced that there is much that happened in the past where we don't have clear evidence.

  • Craig Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    It is a shame people debate the Book of Mormon without reading it and applying its teachings in their lives. I have found that the Book of Mormon has changed my life and made me more Christ like.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 9, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    Apparently, my third post was deemed too offensive and was denied so let me try again. Giantsquid re: #2. It's in print, read the book.

    My emphasis is that what I have presented is a short list of items I've found through familiarity with both the BofM and archeological evidences and I could present much more: fiery flying serpent motif; world tree/tree of life similarities; BofM/Popul Vuh similarities; etc.

    Now if you are looking for a sign that says "Welcome to Zarahemla," you are out of luck. But suggesting that there are not parallel archeological evidences is akin to saying there are no brass instruments in a marching band. They are there and they are obvious, but it requires in depth familiarity with both the BofM and the archeological evidence.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 9, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Finally, I do not base my feelings re:BofM solely on these physical evidences. I included the effects it has had on my family: I'm convinced that my parents -- LDS converts -- would have been divorced early on except for the perspective provided by their religious beliefs; my wife -- also a convert and I bright, well-educated woman (PhD in neuropsychology) -- has lived a life of uncompromising integrity and Christian charity; I have had sons who have struggled -- one of whom attempted to to live without the LDS faith for a time -- who have found solace and strength and happiness that they did not find in any other place.

    Then, there is me. Quite simply, all that I have and am I owe to Jesus Christ. All that I know of Him has come through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. While there are a thousand elements of my witness of the veracity of this book, none is more vivid for me than the joy that is my life. You may scoff as you please, but there will be a day when I will see that my faith has not been in vain.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    panamadesnews said, he who wouldn't listen, INVESTIGATE,and find out for himself, or the man who listened to God and an angel and followed their counsel.

    A Marvelous work and wonder. (Isaiah 29:14,JST) But the book(BoM) shall be delivered unto a man(JS),verse 16by the power of Christverse 17,three witnesses, verse 19,many witnesses[11] as seemeth good.
    Not found in the Greek Septuagint(Apostles Bible),Dead Sea(Isaiah) Scrolls.

    That seer his name shall be called Joseph(Smith),and it shall be after the name of his father. (JST 50:33)? JS prophecies himself.

    Faith is only as good as the object of faith. I prayed studied the Bible and left the Church.

  • Jim Mesa, Az
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    Oh the vainess and foolishness of man, for when he is learned he thinks that he is wise. If you want to know who the author of the Book of Mormon is, try reading Moroni 10:3-5.....if you are sincere, you will find out if you are not sincere, then enjoy the view from the great and spacious building

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    When I was in junior high, a girl told me the Book of Mormon teaches that the Indians came to America in submarines! On my mission I was told by a lady in England that her grandmother was held captive in the Mormon temple in SLC and finally escaped by jumping from a window into the Great Salt Lake and swimming to safety! I went to a showing of "The God Makers" and after respectfully pointing out some of the obvious flaws, the preacher asked me to leave because I was "a trouble maker!" I have heard this irrational anti Mormon propaganda ever all my life and all it has done for me is to reinforce my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The anti Mormons might claim to be scholars and "Christians" but their methods reveal the being in whom they really place their trust.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Joggle---you are absolutely correct that in Europe and the USA and all other wealthy countries and continents----secularism is on the rise; godlessness is increasing-----nobody can say you are wrong. But is it the best path to raise the next generation of people? For 2,000 years Christianity (whose people are not perfect) has passed on tradition and music and scripture and morality and dance and culture. Live for the now or look to the next 50 years? Which is more admirable? I am as selfish as the next person but appreciate anyone who tries to get me to think decades ahead and to not just think of today. When riots or gangs or poverty breaks out, which group of people can best deal with it? Religious people turn to prayer, fasting and community instead of anger and rioting and theft. For an atheist to never rob, riot or even swear at another person, nor get angry (things religions deal with---because even swearing is harmful to society----subtle form of hate)--that is admirable and should be rewarded---but more rare a lifestyle for people who just live for today.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    If someone doesn't want to believe no amount of evidence of the Book of Mormon will convince them to believe. It is a waste of time to try to convince them.

    It is also a waste of their time to try to convince me that there is any validity to the "evidence" that they present against it.

    What both sides hope is to influence those who sit on the fence, unsure of their feelings one way or another, who look for evidence to help them decide. Those people need to know that there is much evidence to support the Book of Mormon and that the evidence against it is at best questionable. But most of all they need to know that actually reading the book and praying about it is the only real way to know the truth.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    Mc says:

    "How will those who have left the Church feel if they find out that what they rejected is really true? "

    I say:

    How will those who devoted their lives to the lds church feel if they find out that what they devoted their lives to was really false?

    A lot of you ask why many people who left the church "can't leave it alone".

    One answer is that our families are heavily submerged in the culture and constantly push it back at us. Had you read an email I recently received from my brother you would have been appalled.

    Another is that the lds church won't leave us alone and is in fact, actively engaged in a campaign to deny equal treatment under the law from many of us. That is one reason to pay particular attention to the acts of lds leaders. We can't turn our backs or we may end up with something sticking out of them.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    TJ - Your comment "Every time I read about another attempt to dis-prove anything about the LDS church it just strengthens my belief. If it were not divine, Satan wouldn't be working so hard using dupes to prove it wrong."

    You live in the bubble called Utah, so you may not know that there are anti-catholics, anti-muslims, anti-jehovas witnesses, etc. To think that any opposition equals truth is silly. Everything has at least two sides, 2 stories, 2 views, yes even mormonism. I know, hard to fathom right? Mormonism has a history that the modern church tries to hide. The temple changes over time, the modern church editing its history, the changes to the word of wisdom as god revealed it to Joseph Smith, mountain meadows massacre, and much much more. You can't simply disregard these things. If you believe the church that is fine, but you can't simply say it is true because people have a differing opinion of it and fight against it. It simply doesn't make sense.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    You can't argue this case. Faith is simply that ... blind faith. Doesn't matter how much logic or rationale you throw behind it, believer's are going to hold blind faith, follow the sheep every Sunday to church, be the cattle throughout the week following their callings and other services, and of course ... give that money. Funny how a supreme, all perfect being always needs money? Hmmm ... perhaps it's the men behind it ... hmmm ... i ponder with my rationale, logical, free thinking mind. Can't help myself from pondering. "When the brethren speaketh, the thinking is done" ... not for me .... i'm not that simple minded.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    WHAT??? FAIR refuted the Solomon Spalding theory? Shocking! I thought FAIR existed to get down to the truthfulness of the matter and not to defend the church at any cost. LOL. Well, at least a bunch of people googled Spalding's name after Jeff Holland tearfully testified of the book's truth. Isn't google a gem?

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    "But is it the best path to raise the next generation of people?"

    Religion is dangerous in some aspects. For example many religious people believe in some sort of second coming. With the idea of a second coming on peoples' minds, many feel that it is not necessary to take care of the world because a savior will come and fix the world anyway. Religions want to grow and overtake the world so they command couples to multiply and replenish, which result in an ever increasing rate of consumption.

    Atheists and Agnostics would be more concerned with our well being right now! These people might be more concerned with the welfare of our decendants unlike religious people because they are "promised" that a savior is coming and will be in his circle of never ending happiness of funny jokes.

  • called2serve249 PROVO, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    Wait wait wait...These comments seem to suggest that we all still disagree about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Egads! This cannot be!

    Look, we can bicker all day long about what we believe and what we don't. I have to agree with Brahmabull, that each man will decide for himself based on his personal experience and investigation. I tend to believe it is true based on my investigation and personal experience. He does not. I guarantee we haven't all studied the same things or experienced the same thing. My personal opinion is that we are too concerned with -who- is right rather than -what- is right. No amount of science is going to change my efforts to love my fellowman and serve the Lord.

    Besides, there are much more important things going on in this world that demand our attention. Perhaps we'd be better to focus on them rather than attempting to destroy the faith of others. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    It's not about destroying the faith, the problem is the faith destroys your individuality. The more man puts into god, the less he retains of himself.

  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    It could all end tomorrow, and where would I be? Does life go on or will it be the end of me? Seems a bit unfair to think that all I've learned and done
    belongs to no one. Why should I cherish living if there's no so called plan?
    Why, I would have no future if it were left to man. I can't believe that we just happened and don't know what for. There must be more. Why should I trust in a love that I can't have forever? Does it seem right to live a game of take-away? Should I want for children if there isn't any more for them to live for? Maybe I'm a pessimist - then maybe I'm not. One thing that I'd like to know is what I've got. I don't want a miracle or to see you in the air, but are you up there?

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    @Clark Hippo- Would you refer to LDS authors as "critics" of the church if they tell a story different than the one the LDS church teaches or the apologists tell? I believe that it is important that faith and truth should be in harmony and co-exist. Truth is vital and one that apologists groups have little regard for.
    Fair and Farms have their conclusion and then try to find the most meaningless information to support their conclusion without looking at what others have carefully researched and said about the subject. Peer review would be most helpful to the church and might even add some amount of credibility. The problem is that apologist's should not and cannot be trusted to be without an agenda. Readers of articles like this believe that is something that has been written scientifically and without bias when it has not. You have to agree that readers who take the position that what is written here is true and consider all other research invalid regardless of how documented those sources are. Not all writers outside of apologist's are trying to prove the church wrong. They are trying to live by a higher standard.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    @panamadesnews
    I'm always amazed that people still believe in Satan...the devil...or whatever you want to call that "representation" of evil as a real entity and use it as a veiled insinuation that you are evil....or going to hell simply because you find it impossible to believe in God. I do not oppose God; I oppose religion. There's a difference.

    @A voice of Reason
    I agree that nothing definitively 100% provable and irrefutable including both religion and atheism. Any belief can be violent. I responded to JM's use of the words "fighting against" when I personally would simply use the word "disagree". We all have a right to disagree with something and present opposing information. Religion presents its information continuously. Opposing information gives a more complete picture of the subject. Why not present it? Nobody is compelled to embrace or reject it. That's a choice.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 9, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    @Jiggle
    "Nobody is compelled to embrace or reject it. That's a choice. "

    Not true. Young children born and raised LDS (or any denomination/religion) don't have that choice. Many are stuck for life. Children are very easily influenced. Just take a look at how many kids mindlessly spill testimonials of Joseph Smith and haven't a clue about his real history, many wives, and even very young ones.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 9, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    Jiggle:

    One of the lingering questions that I had for years, that ultimately contributed to my doubt over religion, was directly related to "Satan" and how such a being can operate. How does he tempt, for example? How does he decieve? And if we accept that a supernatural being who disguises evil for good, and good for eveil - using supernatural methods - doesn't that invalidate any assurance of faith? The religious will argue that God reveals the truth to us, but they cannot explain how they are able to objectively decipher the temptings of Satan from the spirit of God or the Holy Ghost. They will assert the distinctions, yet they cannot provide any real objective answers as to how they distinguish. For example, if we accept section 123: 12-13, then we must ask, how do we know that we ourselves are not just "blinded by subtle craftiness". If we accept that others are mistaken about their religious experiences, by supernatural means, why are we so different? It requires circular logic to get around that. Ultimately this line of belief (section 123) invalidates itself, and all religious epistemology.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    "Opposing information gives a more complete picture of the subject. Why not present it? Nobody is compelled to embrace or reject it. That's a choice."

    There is a a certain paradigm in the philosophical world is very flawed- that one's beliefs must be able to "withstand scrutiny". There is merit here- If I am debating whether the LDS Church is possibly a viable source of truth, or 'the' source, etc. then yes, I can question whatever I want.

    But opposing views isn't questioning. It isn't learning. It isn't a method of growth, but is inherently a destructive approach.

    Opposing = against. Those who say 'but I'm not convinced, I'm not sure... how can that work?' truly want to learn. Those who say 'but your wrong, Joseph Smith lied, etc.' offer no room for growth.

    --

    I have said this, 'If a belief must withstand scrutiny, so must this one' - It's no different than saying "No argument is perfect, including my own". You will never be able to prove your view right or my view wrong.

    Under that premise, it is better to live life, building on our own beliefs, not fighting each other's as nothing comes from it but destruction.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    To our member critics: You twist the so called changes to your favor thus ignoring further revelation pertaining to them. This is true pertaining to the changes in the temple ordinances, the Word of Wisdom and others. I will not go into the changes in the temple because this is neither the place nor the time to do so. I suggest you talk to your Bishop and Stake President. If that doesn't satisfy you nothing will but direct word from our Heavenly Father, thus you fail to sustain these men as your leaders,

    The Word of Wisdom they say was changed pertains to beer and meat. Yet, again the either misinterpret or ignore further revelation pertaining to them. Science has proven that one 12 ounce beer at 5% or better is equal to one shot of whiskey. Meat is only to be used sparingly and only in winter. The actual scripture states, "And it is pleasing unto me that they SHOULD NOT be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." In other words they are for our use but sparingly. Sparingly is really a grey area so that is up to the individual.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    They say the Church glosses over its history, yet the Church has it in its Ensign, the Institute Classes and even on the internet. It is there if you care to look for it. Yet, they want us to believe it isn't that it is whitewashed which is totally false. They say this because of Mountain Meadows Massacre yet the authors of a book put out in 2008 has not be debunked at all and is one of the most precise books of what transpired there. This also includes the so called involvement of Brigham Young which it clearly shows he had no part in at all.

    So, then they go to the Book of Abraham but the apologists and even Church Leaders have all stated the facts around this. Again they want us to believe them over those the LORD has appointed to be his mouth pieces. They disagree with them and say it is logical to do so. They are here to help the Church, not to destroy it but that is just a way of saying they don't trust the leadership and do not sustain the Prophets, Seers and Revelators.

  • Kevin Surrey, BC
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    I find it interesting that critics of the LDS church have scads of time to devote to writing and trying to disprove everything from JS to modern revelation. I certainly don't waste my time trying to disprove any other religion and actively speak out against them. Why waste your time on DN? Nothing said on these boards will make any difference. The gospel continues to be spread around the world and the humble hear the message and act on it. The effects of daily following Christ and applying His teachings in my life are all I need as testimony, not arguments about this evidence or lack of evidence.

    In the end we will all kneel individually before God to account for our actions in this life. At that point it will be too late to give any excuses for our actions or lack of actions.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    @LValfre
    I don't disagree with you at all. In fact, I oppose indoctrination of children into religion. My comments are referring to adults who have access to more information than children.

    @Mormoncowboy
    Well stated! You might call me a naturalist! I believe people are naturally good or evil plus all shades in-between. Man is what he chooses to be.
    Man is a creature of this earth, blessed with astonishing faculties that allow him to choose to behave well or badly. I believe we control ourselves....not some mythical entity!

    @Voice of Reason
    I beg to differ! People who have an opposing opinion or outlook have usually already questioned and learned about beliefs that oppose there own. For example: I have learned about the LDS Church. People have come to their conclusions based on learning, questioning, scrutinizing as many aspects, opinions, information concerning the subject as possible. Limiting information/knowledge is not growth. Neither of us may be able to prove our views to each other, but that doesn't mean others won't at least consider the information. There's nothing wrong with building on your beliefs, but I personally prefer to build mine on as much information/knowledge as possible.

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    To illustrate the flaw in analysis, Fields said that, using the Stanford researchers' methodology, it can be shown that Sidney Rigdon wrote 34 of the 85 Federalist Papers (even though he wasn't yet born) and that Rigdon wrote 30 percent of the chapters in the Bible.
    --

    without detailed information, there is no way to validate the counter that Fields offers, but its pretty clever on the face of it.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    QED Criddle QED!

    Now go back to your actual field of study.

    As a fellow Olympus Titan, somewhere between the Cottonwood Mall and Heaps a Burger....you lost your way. Sad legacy.

  • Mel50 Nashville, TN
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    Ranchhand - you asked Mc:
    How will those who devoted their lives to the lds church feel if they find out that what they devoted their lives to was really false?

    But I believe she answered that question already, and quite eloquently, I might add, when she said:

    I believe it is from God and have chosen to live my life accordingly. Someday, in the next life, we will all know the truth. If I find out that it is not true I will have no regrets for having lived my life without alcohol, drugs, immorality, dishonesty, or hate. I will not regret making temple covenants that lead me to serve others, be faithful to my husband, and live a family oriented life. I can't think of anything in my life as an active Latter-day saint that I would regret if I learned it wasn't true. I love it all-the temple, Sunday meetings, callings, missions, family history research, and family life in the Church.

    I completely agree with her.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    @RanchHand

    "Another is that the lds church won't leave us alone"

    I guess the LDS Church exercising its right to freedom of speech bothers you.

    "actively engaged in a campaign to deny equal treatment under the law from many of us"

    The LDS Church is actively engaged in a campaign to protect its own rights from the laws that are being proposed. I respect your right to take the other side on the issue and would expect the same of you.

    "We can't turn our backs or we may end up with something sticking out of them."

    Don't expect your words and ideas to be respected if you portray intentions of violence by your opponents simply because they disagree with you. Reasonable minds can disagree. Unreasonable minds resort to grotesque exaggerations.

  • jjc16 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    @JM

    Mountains of evidence for the Book of Mormon? Really?

    Name one secular textbook that says ANY civilization in the ancient Americas looked like those described in the Book of Mormon. Go ahead. Just one secular textbook or researcher that supports this idea.

    If that's too hard, name one mainstream genetic researcher that believes that American Indians are descended from ancient Jews and not Eastern Asians. They have done genetic studies on that point, just so you know.

    No, in fact, there is NO (as in ZERO) objective evidence of the "divine" origins of the Book of Mormon and MOUNTAINS of evidence against that being the case.

    But, thanks for playing.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Aug. 9, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    Short analysis of the Book of Mormon. The Malay Theory. This theory says it would have been much easier for Nephi to travel a 4000 mile journey to the Malay Peninsula than a 16000 mile journey in open seas to the Americas. The author notes better language similarities, better DNA evidence, and other evidences to support his ideas, while clearly noting that he is not sure how the plates got to NY. According to Smith's account, and also according to the book's narrative, the Book of Mormon was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian" engraved on golden plates. Smith claimed that the last prophet to contribute to the book, a man named Moroni, buried it in a hill in present-day New York and then returned to earth in 1827 as an angel, revealing the location of the book to Smith and instructing him to translate and disseminate it as evidence of the restoration of Christ's true church in the latter days. The Book of Mormon is the earliest of the unique writings of the Latter Day Saint movement, God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.

  • justaguy Out There in, WI
    Aug. 9, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    I've read Spaulding's "Manuscript Found". It has so little in commen with the Book of Mormon its ludicrous to think it could be the basis for the Book of Mormon. About the only thing they have in common is they both involve a visit to the new world. Its too much of a stretch to think anyone used Spaulding's work to come up with the Book of Mormon.

  • dtlenox Olympia, WA
    Aug. 9, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    The biggest problem I have with the anti-religion folks is that they like to think that they are the "more intelligent" ones who use reason and logic to guide their worldviews, and that religious people ignore reason and logic and rely entirely on "blind faith". That is a shortsighted and bigoted view which only serves to refute their own logic, as such a categorizing of religious believers is in itself illogical and unreasonable. Based on my own personal experiences as a religious believer, experiences such as numerous answers to prayers, spiritual promptings and ideas, are all very real and logical to me. To me, it is much more logical and reasonable to believe in God and in the tenets of my religion, than to not believe in them. We can't be expected to explain everything, but good religions such as Mormonism give us the benefit of being able to understand the things in life that matter most, such as our relationships with our fellow humans, and to be a loving and caring person, with the positive assurance that there is more to our existence than this brief mortal life.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    @jjc16

    "Name one secular textbook that says ANY civilization in the ancient Americas looked like those described in the Book of Mormon."
    ----------

    Name one mainstream researcher that has a scholarly understanding of the Book of Mormon that could recognize an ancient civilization mentioned in the BOM. The issue isn't only archaeology - the issue really is "what does the BOM really say." A non-scholarly understanding of the BOM won't suffice.

    "If that's too hard, name one mainstream genetic researcher that believes that American Indians are descended from ancient Jews and not Eastern Asians."
    ----------

    Again, name one mainstream researcher who has a scholarly understanding of the BOM and what it really says and knows what the DNA of Lehi and his family was. (hint: it doesn't say ALL are descended from ancient Jews)

    "No, in fact, there is NO (as in ZERO) objective evidence of the "divine" origins of the Book of Mormon and MOUNTAINS of evidence against that being the case."
    ----------

    Given faulty beginning assumptions, no wonder you view it like that. No active LDS claims the BOM can be proven. But given faith, and evidence, there are strong reasons why we believe it to be divine.

  • scoley82 BROWNSBURG, IN
    Aug. 9, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    I have read the Book of Mormon 4 times. Most critics I find peruse the book and never read it and are not sincere in finding the truth and the veracity of the book.

    Also you could ask Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdrey and David Whitmer if they believe the book is true. They are additional crazy witnesses that witnessed the veracity of the book by witnessing the existance of an angel calling himself Moroni.

    I find it also ironic how easily the account of the three witnesses are so easily discarded by critics.

    If you are sincere and really want to find the truth about this book, you need to read it without insincere motives. If you do this and follow the precepts of this book, your life will be greatly blessed and your life will never be the same.

    This is my humble and personal experience!

  • Spartan ALPHARETTA, GA
    Aug. 9, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    My Christian faith is the Greek Orthodox faith. This is the same Christan Church organized by the Apostles when they came to Greece after Jesus ascended into Haven. The Greek word for "Good News" is "Gospel". Remember Christ told the Apostles to spread the "Gospel" to all parts of the world including the New World when we finally learned it was here. The Book of Mormon cannot be true for God tells us in the Bible that anyone who adds to the scriptures or takes away from the striptures will be cursed by God. So no matter what hocus pocus anyone goes through to prove the Book of Mormons they cannot get around the warning the Bible gives us. LDS does good works and the people are for the most part very good people. But good works alone will not save you. Christ said, "I am the Truth and the Light, no one enters Haven but through Me".... and "..he who believes in Me even tho he be dead yet shall he live". I choose to believe the words of Christs that needed no translation through gold plates using a special rock in a hat. Amen!

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    The critics say you can't trust evidence given by the Church or its members because they have an agenda. Well, if you can't see any agenda in the "evidence" put forth by the critics and anti-Mormons then you are truly blind.

    I readily admit that we have an agenda in supporting the Book of Mormon and the Church. Our agenda is to help God accomplish his objective, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." We want to share what has given us joy and purpose because we care about others.

    Will you critics and antis admit that you also have an agenda? You say that we believers will ignore your evidence because we are sheep and believe no matter what. Will you admit that it wouldn't matter what kind of evidence was discovered that supports the Book of Mormon, you still would not believe? If I am a blind follower then so are you. We're just going in different directions.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    Aug. 9, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    Any honest person wants to know what is real and what is not. You don't have to be an ardent believer to want to know the real story. That goes for the story of the Book of Mormon too. However, for generations there has been no serious attempt by the overwhelming number of people who write about the B of M to get very far into the weeds when it comes to scholarly research. Most have no idea what scholarly research is for that matter. They take the top off, look inside and then close it up again without every knowing what they were looking at and then write another expose. But that is changing and that is a very good thing.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 8:01 p.m.

    @Spartan

    The warning against adding to or taking away from this book, does not refer to the whole Bible or even to the New Testament, but to use Johns words, only to the words of the book of this prophecy.

    Some of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written when John wrote the book of Revelation, or had even been gathered into one compilation.

    The collection of writings consisting of the sixty-six books we know as the Bible were brought together and compiled into one volume long after John wrote the prophetic book that has been placed at the end of the collection.

    It is also interesting to note that John himself added to scripture after writing the book of Revelation, which is generally conceded to have been written while he was on the Isle of Patmos.

    It was long after John left Patmos that he wrote his first epistle.

    This fact standing alone would be sufficient to defeat the claim that revelation was closed and that man was enjoined from adding to scripture. This adds cumulative evidence that John had reference to the book of Revelation only.

    From Howard W. Hunter

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 10, 2011 2:21 a.m.

    I see the notion being floated that the fact that many former Mormons go out of their way to criticize the Church, is evidence that the Church must be true.

    That's poor reasoning. It's human nature to try to justify one's choices, after they're made. The same thing happens when people leave the Catholic Church -- or their spouses, or their allegiance to their favorite brand of toothpaste or sports team. It says nothing about the actual truth, or value, of the thing the person was disaffected with. It's fair to assume that he's spending more energy making it look bad than a neutral person would, but it's not logical to then conclude that therefore, the thing must be perfect.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    @Bill

    Bringing up the Book of Abraham problem in your post continues to set the church up for the type of scrutiny it most assuredly does not want.

    Regardless of how badly some members desire to believe the so called facts about the BoA as represented by the church and her apologists, that desire, although sincere, simply does not change the facts of the matter.

    Whereas the gold plates containing "Reformed Egyptian" do not exist for any independent analysis, the facsimiles of the vignettes and ten of the eleven known papyri fragments with Joseph Smith's explanations are indeed available for inspection.

    Independent Egyptian scholars with absolutely no vendetta against the church have categorically concluded that they are nothing more than a collection of Egyptian funerary documents and magic spells depicting the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt...those are the facts.

    The BoA problem is incredibly damaging evidence against the church and Joseph Smith's claim to have special translation powers. My sincere advice would be for the church to avoid continuing to defend such nonsensical material if it expects to maintain any sense of credibility involving legitimate scholarly inquiry.

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    What a serious waste of time. It is either true or not true. It is not possible for man to prove either way. The proof or non proof comes from God - not man!

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    @MC- the only agenda most of us have is truth. There are researchers out there that have no agenda who would like to keept the facts straight. In my studies, I only read books from distinguished LDS authors and researchers that I felt were credible. Not sure what agenda they would have. I did not want bias and if there was bias then i wanted them to lean on the side of the church. MC if you decide to go down that path it's Pandora's box and everything that you think you knew, is simply not how it happened. I wish you luck.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    TheProudDuck ,I see the notion being floated that the fact that many former Mormons go out of their way to criticize the Church, is evidence that the Church must be true.
    I prayed for wisdom studied the evidence the BoM and left the Church. i.e,the great Jehovah(YHWH )the eternal judge Moroni 10:34.

    From[false] LDS revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 ,Jehovah appears to JS), Abra 2:8 ,My is name is Jehovah) 788 Mormon Doctrine.
    s/b YHWH, JS was unaware of the poor KJV and didnt know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH.

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under Gods curse.(Galatians 1:8)

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    FAIR is to objective research as fish is to mountain climbing.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    RE: TheProudDuck ,I see the notion being floated that the fact that many former Mormons go out of their way to criticize the Church, is evidence that the Church must be true.I prayed for wisdom studied the evidence the BoM and left the Church. i.e,the great Jehovah(YHWH )the eternal judge Moroni 10:34.
    From[false] LDS revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 ,Jehovah appears to JS), Abra 2:8 ,My is name is Jehovah) 788 Mormon Doctrine.s/b YHWH, JS was unaware of the poor KJV and didnt know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH.
    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under Gods curse.(Galatians 1:8)

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 8:26 a.m.

    @Ernest

    I've caught many a fish while Mountain Climbing.
    Lots of lakes and streams up there Ernie!

    Try again.

  • mta3000 Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    Anyone who claims that Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith or any of their contemporaries wrote the Book of Mormon has to account for the book's Semitic complexity spoken of recently by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

    For example, Chiasmus, an intricate Hebraic parallel form, wasn't even identified in the Bible by Western scholars until 1854, 24 years after the pulication of Book of Mormon, with the publication of John Forbes' book "The Symmetrical Structure of Scripture". Yet, as John Welch illustrates in his 1969 article "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon", elaborate chiastic forms are employed by Book of Mormon authors, some chiasms covering entire chapters. If it was written by Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdrey, Joseph Smith, or whoever, they would have had to have been on the cutting edge of Hebrew literary scholarship -- a pretty amazing feat for a preacher, a schoolteacher or a farm boy.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    I have to say, I'm a little confused by the choices of possible authors this study chose. While a gifted writer in his own right, Parley P. Pratt didn't meet Joseph Smith until months after the Book of Mormon was printed. Sidney Rigdon, the most common alternate author listed in these types of studies, didn't meet him for several years after the book was published. Oliver Cowdery, seemingly the most logical choice, usually comes in toward the end of the list of possible candidates in word print studies. Study after study has shown that his authorship isn't likely at all.

    Really, if you're trying to disprove the divine origins of the Book of Mormon, wouldn't Joseph Smith be the top choice of author? Why wasn't he even on the list?

  • defibman Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    I have all the evidence I need about the BoM. It's truth flows through me as if it were liquid surity. I hear what others say, I read what others think, but their words are their's and only their's.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    @full disclosure
    I don't know what path you think I'm on or what Pandora's box I've opened.

    If you have read the works of credible LDS scholars and authors that's great, I have, too. Have you also read the Book of Mormon objectively? If you have read the research and scholarly works that show there is evidence of things in the Book of Mormon and have read the Book of Mormon itself and you do not believe it's true, then you have made my point. It really doesn't matter what evidence there is one way or the other. People will believe what they want to believe or what they have received a spiritual witness of.

    I have received a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon and I desire to believe. No one should rely on histories or human research to establish their faith or allow it to destroy their faith. History is subjective and no historian is totally without bias. "Truth" is presented through the perspective of imperfect people who most often do not admit their bias.

    If you really want to find truth, God is the only source, the only way to really know.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 10, 2011 10:08 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon is worthy of our consideration. Simply powerful. How wonderful to read posts here from well meaning individuals from across the country. Finding and embracing the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is definately worth your attention.

    Perhaps some key points of the Church of Jesus Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith might add light for those interested. Please excuse any semantical differences here and try to understand.

    The 14 million members of the LDS Church help minister in this Church which functions with lay ministry. We receive no financial remuneration, and do so happily. We pay tithes and offerings to build chapels, temples and schools and provide extensively for the poor and needy.

    We believe in and worship Jesus Christ as our master, savior and redeemer. We daily strive to follow Him in all our actions and deeds. We believe and revere the Holy Bible as the word of God recorded for our guidance and study. The Book of Mormon adds credence to the Bible, and harmoniously compliments the Bible to further testify of Jesus Christ. To comprehend it one must study and ponder it. It changed my heart. I recommend it to you.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    bluto:
    You were fishing in water. You weren't climbing mountains and fish certainly weren't.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 10, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    The proof is more in the pudding than it is in how many different explanations can be authored and regurgitated for other possible authors, creators, etc. The proof is in the simplicity of the Mormon religion, and at the same time, in their earth-shattering complexity and leadership.

    Who, at age 14 says they have seen God? Young Joseph Smith did. Gutsy move. But wait. He didn't claim to just see God but also Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. That broke so many stereotypes because nowhere in the world were people thinking God and Jesus Christ were separate and distinct individuals in human form. No one had realized that Jesus was resurrected with a body of flesh and bones. Brilliant.

    Who, at 17, would say that the world would inquire after his name and not only revere him but say the most vicious things about him to discredit him? Joseph Smith did. Unheard of, yet he did it and today we still follow this mantra.

    Who at 23 would have the audacity to introduce a 500 page book of scripture to the world complimenting the Bible? He did. The proof is right there. Examine it.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 10, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Re: Elder Holland's "teeming with Semitic complexity" -- what would you expect of a book written by a young man whose primary literary influence was the Hebrew Bible? And who might have been consciously striving to imitate its style?

    A choice to believe in the Book of Mormon must be based on personal revelation, not second-rate logic. Unfortunately, much if not most of Book of Mormon apologetic logic is second-rate. Chiasmus, for instance, is a much more widespread literary technique than apologists suggest. It was common in early American literature. I wrote a paper once demonstrating the use of chiasmus in Federalist No. 46, by James Madison.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    See article today on: Incivility turning more workplaces 'toxic'. Our increasingly secular nation is becoming rude and mean. We can't always tell if somebody has faith, but there are many signs that start popping up when they lack it.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    ===

    Dear Ranchhand: Mc answered your question quite eloquently before you even asked it while you completely sidestepped the question posed by Mc.

    Go back and read the comment by Mc at 6:29pm yesterday, it's on page 2. I agree with the comments. I won't regret one aspect of my life living the gospel according to the LDS church.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches me that there are absolutes in life and that moral relativity is wrong. There is a right way and a wrong way.

    You have chosen to leave the LDS church and cling to your homosexuality. No problem, your choice. As I tell my children though, you don't get to choose the consequences of your choices.

    Homosexuality isn't marriage as you try to post in every single post you put forward no matter the topic of the letter. The LDS leaders you hate are doing what Christ and His apostles did, stand up to the unrighteousness and declare eternal truths.

    Your brother probably chastised you for your homosexuality and antagonism towards your former church. Good for him!

    Your back-turning comment was hilarious considering your choice in relationship. Hilarious!

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    scoley82 writes:

    "I have read the Book of Mormon 4 times. Most critics I find peruse the book and never read it and are not sincere in finding the truth and the veracity of the book... If you are sincere and really want to find the truth about this book, you need to read it without insincere motives. If you do this and follow the precepts of this book, your life will be greatly blessed and your life will never be the same."

    I have sincerely, with "real intent", read, studied, prayed about, fasted, memorized sections, and on and on for over 20 years (my wife is LDS) about the Book of Mormon. I have read it probably 10 times through.

    As a result of my studies, I have never received any "blessings" or spiritual, intellectual, or other kind of "witness" that the Book of Mormon is true, accurate, inspiring, or miraculous in any way whatsoever.

    Generally speaking, it is no different in content, style, literary prowess, inspirational mumbo jumbo than any other religious book, and far poorer than many of them.

    The main ideas of Mormonism are not even found in the BOM.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 10, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    Weber: I have told you that the only thing that is at all funeral texts are the fascimilles shown in the Book of Abraham. However, as you well know we do not have all of the extents that Joseph Smith had. Much was burned in the Chicago fire. You still refuse to accept that.

    Further, evidence of this is that there is eyewitness accounts of what Joseph Smith had and none of that is even remotely close to what the Church of Jesus Christ has today. Again you are going strickly on what critics have to say except you deny the eyewitness reports.

    Secondly, there are things in these facismilles that are not in others therefore, to categorically dispell it as other than the funeral texts is completely naive especially with someone who wishes NOT to believe.

    There is proof that what is there and what has been recorded is different than what some critics report. There is evidence to the contrary of what is stated. Yes, the funeral texts is there. However, you must take the whole thing not just the one part. The whole papyri is NOT present. That is a fact.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    @MC- I have read the Book of Mormon objectively and found more questions than answers. I have also compared it to Ethan Smiths View of the Hebrews, Soloman Spauldings "Manuscript Story", the Bible, and Joseph Smiths personal stories prior to his numerous different accounts of the First Vision.
    I do believe you have had spiritual or emotional experiences that have given you a belief that you are comfortable with. I'm not trying to discount or sway your testimony. the best thing that you said and you are correct,

    "People will believe what they want to believe or what they have received a spiritual witness of." My brother recieved a spiritual witness of the church that he attends. It doesn't have to be true to believe, it's their desire, regardless if it is true or not. This is no knock but I know many people that believe because of the hope that it offers.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    "I have told you that the only thing that is at all funeral texts are the fascimilles shown in the Book of Abraham."

    Bill...you are simply incorrect. But by your admission above, you have unwittingly implicated Joseph Smith as misrepresenting the facts.

    Facsimile No. 1 does not portray Abraham fastened to an altar with the idolatrous priest of Elkenah attempting to sacrifice him. Instead, it represents the god Anubis (who should have a jackal's head) bending over a mummy effecting the resurrection of Osiris.

    Facsimile No. 2 does not represent God revealing the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood. Rather, its the Hypocephalus of Sheshonq which ancient Egyptians place under the heads of their dead to magically protect the deceased.

    Facsimile No. 3 does not portray Abraham in the court of Pharaoh reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy. Instead, it's a typical scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead in which the deceased person for whom the scroll was made is presented before the Egyptian god, Osiris.

    These facts alone are incredibly damaging to Joseph Smith's assertions. What does this say about his claim to special translation ability?

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 3:00 p.m.

    To LValfre: If prophets of God proved every single thing about scriptures to us then there would be no need for faith, personal study, personal revelation, nor provide us with opportunities for growth.

    To Vanka: In response to your parable-- Joseph showed the plates which the BOM was written on to 8 witness. Even though some of those men eventually left the church, they never denied their testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Joseph did not ask them to pay him money to see the plates nor force them to obey him as if he were God himself. He also never said that lack of faith in the BOM would mean they would be shunned from the community nor cause them to perish in damnation for eternity. Please don't make assertions which are not factually based.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 3:14 p.m.

    For those who might not know, most of these comments are by a few professional anti-Mormon individuals with many DN accounts.
    Some are gay activists, others are simply the fallen trying to justify why they so easily ran "after only a few weeks" of reading anti-Mormon propaganda on the internet.

    These individuals now know they were led away by misinformation, even outright lies, but, interestingly, they are now more than willing to lie to lead others astray.

    Some LDS have answered all questions repeatedly (check past MT articles including Mike Ash, comments etc) including:

    The claims to revelations and failed prayers tactic, fallen theories, invention of absent libraries (where JS got Nahom), forged cities (NY "town Alma"), YHVH, JST VS MS, (Augustine etc says verses were removed by "enemies of Christ"), discovered anachronisms (steel, steeled bows, horses, swords, glass, windows, roads cast "up", etc etc etc), Bountiful, customs, chiasmus, the miraculously detailed relationship between Indigenous American religious symbolism and Middle Eastern (including Baal), miraculously predictive geography, etc etc etc etc.

    These have had signs enough, but seem to be bound in chains too tight for freeing, might not hurt to try, but don't trust them : ) on ANYTHING!! ; )

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 10, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    To Maryquilter:

    "If prophets of God proved every single thing about scriptures to us then there would be no need for faith, personal study, personal revelation, nor provide us with opportunities for growth."

    This is the common Christian response. No one has ever adequately explained why God built a plan on the principles of "faith". What virtues inherently rest themselves in the exercise of faith? In reality, if you break it down, no one is ever being asked to have faith in God, and this is particularly true in Mormonism. Rather, by extension when one is encouraged to have faith - it is faith in the Bible, the theology, the leadership, the Book of Mormon, etc. It is not enough to believe that exists and that he loves me, but that I must have "faith" that he restored the Mormon truth. Why is any theology worthy of faith? Even if God is worthy of such faith, I can't seperate the way I am to have faith in him (keeping idiosyncratic "commandments" for example) from the religions which claim to hold the keys of knowledge and salvation. Faith is never really about God, it's about power.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 10, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    I am not a huge fan of the idea that much of a person's character can be judged by what he believes. Formal Christian identity is less important than Christian life. What we believe is less important than what we become. Believing the right things can certainly help us become what we ought to be (just as believing the wrong things can hinder our progress), but I've seen too many fundamentally decent and reasonable people disagree about too many strongly-held beliefs, to think that all decent people will invariably come to the same conclusions about anything.

    The doctrines and historical foundations of the Church may well be 100% true and consistent with how they're portrayed by the Church's defenders. But it is unjust, and therefore unrighteous, to assume that everyone who disagrees must be wicked. To the extent any person sincerely seeks the truth, his firmness in the right, as God and chance have given him to see the right, will be imputed to him for righteousness. And at some point, whatever mistakes a man makes in the details will be made clear to him, whether in this life or the next.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy: Sorry you have closed yourself off to any possibility of a loving God who wishes only the best for you.

    LValfre: I see no sense whatsoever in your comment that faith destroys all individuality, sorry.

    RanchHand: We are not 'devoted to the LDS church', we are devoted to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are devoted to following the principles Jesus set forth for us. If I try to live the 10 commandments, serve others, forgive others, and find joy and peace in my life: if I try to 'Love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, might, and strength", and " love my neighbor as myself" then find in the next life that it was all a sham-- I have no problem with that because I think I will have lived a happier more fulfilled life than those who see only negativity and hatred and live in judgement of those around them and close their minds to truth if it doesn't agree with their current notions. Truth can come only to those who are willing to change their minds if they believe their former notions to be incorrect.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 10, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    To Weber: Facsimile 1: "Not only do we see, in the Book of Luke, a Jewish adaptation of an Egyptian scene, but we also fine some interesting parallels to AFacsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham. In this vingnette, Joseph identified tthe figure lying on the lion couch as Abraham. Egytologists identified the figure as Osiris. Based on an early Judaic adaptaion of Facisimile 1, Joseph got it exactly right."

    "The late klaus Baer, a non-LDS Egyptologis from the Unviersity of Chicago, claimed that Facsimile 1 and 3 are unusual and it would be erroneous to claim that dozens of similar examples could be found. Facsimile 3, he went on to note, is not a judgement scene (as often claimed by critics) and it might prove difficult to find an exact parallel."

    The problem is the critics slam LDS Scholarship and yet when one of their own dispell their notions they continue to slam it as LDS Scholarship. So as noted above it does not in any way discount what Joseph Smith did. The problem that the critics fail to understand is that Joseph Smith didn't know Egyptian at all. His translation came from our Heavenly Father.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 10, 2011 10:07 p.m.

    Sharrona,

    Former Mormons going out of their way to criticize the Church may not be evidence that the Church is true, but it does indicate that we should take their criticisms with a bit of salt. I left the church of my youth decades ago. I have virtually nothing to do with it but when I do speak of it, I try to be respectful and to speak well of the good folks I knew therein.

    Your point about Jehovah vs. YHWH puzzles me. Since the name Jehovah was in common usage, it seems perfectly logical that Christ would have identified himself by that name.

    Certainly Jesus and Christ are not names Christ would have used during his lifetime. But I would fully expect that they would be how he would identify himself to us now given that they are the name and title we know and understand.

    Isn't that the very nature of translation - that the person hearing the words understands them for what they mean and represent? When I speak with folks in another language, I modify the pronunciation of my name so they can understand better.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    Maryquilter:

    Your response was a cheap dodge, suggesting you have reached the end of your rope. I think those questions deserve more attention than you have allowed. Mormons constantly insist that their religious devotion is not one of "blind faith", yet when presented with difficult questions, simple dodges and thought stopping jabs with pretenses of remorse are offered as nothing more than subtle insult (I'm sorry you (I) have closed yourself off...). I would encourage to think about that for a while. What is faith? Why would it be required? Does faith entail uncertainty? If so, why is faith in religion appropriate?

    After all, "faith in God" is always embedded with the implication that first one must have faith in the theological structure that defines and speaks for whatever God we are to have in!

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    Bill, I'm surprised you would quote Dr. Klaus Baer.

    For some reason, I'm unable to get Dr. Baer's quotes about Joseph Smith's erroneous interpretation past the sensitivity of the DN moderators. Suffice it to say, Dr. Baer (along with other non-Mormon Egyptologists and Mormon scholars) is adamant that Josephs interpretation is categorically wrong.

    By quoting Dr. Baer to support your argument, you have again unwittingly set yourself up...Dr. Baers interpretation of the vignette is at extreme odds with Joseph Smith's rendition.

    Furthermore, Dr. Baer has criticized LDS apologists such as Hugh Nibley that defend Joseph Smith's inaccurate rendition of the facsimiles. I'm not sure, but I believe this quote from Dr. Baer offended the sensitivity of the DN moderators, thereby rejecting my earlier post.

    Simply put, Joseph Smith's translation ability has been brought into serious question by credible Egyptologists such as the late Klaus Baer from the University of Chicago.

    The fact that he Joseph Smith couldn't accurately translate BoA Egyptian writings brings further doubt to his claim to have accurately translated BoM "Reformed Egyptian" writings.

    Such skepticism is both reasonable and prudent against a person who claims to hold the keys to another's salvation.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy states, " No one has ever adequately explained why God built a plan on the principles of "faith"."

    The answer is that the inadequacy resides within you. The rest of your post details that it is you who has the issue of faith, God, commandments and religion.

    There are millions of others who have had the question answered to their satisfaction. I'm not trying to put you down but I highly doubt that any answer would ever be adequate for you.

    It was the same with Doubting Thomas who had to see to believe. Christ said that's okay but more blessed are those who believe who haven't seen Him.

    You describe the exact test of this life. We are here to be tested, to find truth, to be obedient and to come to know God and return to Him.

    Some have that desire and many others don't. It's no knock if you don't but it's not a knock either if I do.

    There is nothing you or any of the others who want to argue points of doctrine, can say that would make me question my testimony. Absolutely nothing.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    It doesn't matter that I can't go find the cities listed in the Book of Mormon. The cities listed in the Bible can be found, visited and enjoyed and billions of people still don't believe.

    I have had way too many experiences with God, Christ and the Holy Ghost to deny what I know. I couldn't be like that clown on the Heart of the Matter who professes it was all just heartburn.

    The question that stands, that not one of you have answered is,
    what do you believe?

    What do you have to offer that is better than what I have?

    How will my life be better off without the teachings of the gospel and all the blessings that come from adherence to God's commandments?

    From what I can tell from posts like yours is that you don't have a foundation for living, that you think those who believe are weak-minded and that somehow your worldly philosophies are higher and greater than God's and Christ's.

    I disagree with your beliefs but allow you to have them. Are you not able to do the same with those you disagree? Doesn't appear so....

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    Twin Lights: Thanks for your comments, I totally agree. I too try to speak respectfully of the church I was formerly a baptized member of. It was filled with kind and well-intentioned people who love the Lord. Although they taught an anti-mormon class filled with lies and misrepresentations, I look back and realize that in their mind they were only trying to 'save' me from what they thought would be eternal torment.

    When I moved to St. George from LA and started taking the missionary discussions, the local branch of my old church contacted me in an effort to "save" me again. Just wish they had their facts straight before teaching impressionable teens lies about the Mormon faith. Share differences in doctrine, but keep to the truth.

    That was 36 years ago and I have never looked back. Worshipping and serving God through the Mormon church has been the most wonderful experience in my life ; not always the easiest, but rewarding beyond measure. If at some point I thought God was showing me that this is in error, then I would be open to investigating that, but in 36 years that has not been my experience.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 11, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    If Sidney Rigdon actually wrote the Book of Mormon text, how did it get dictated by Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, since there was no manuscript at hand for Cowdery to read from? Why bother creating a new manuscript by laborious dictation when the conspirators could have just used the (hypothetical) Rigdon manuscript? If Rigdon had the Book of Mormon manuscript, what was the point in having Joseph Smith delay things by the months he took to produce a dictated manuscript? Why did Rigdon need Joseph Smith in order to publish the book? Smith had no reputation that would lend credibility to the book. He was a total unknown. Rigdon, on the other hand, was an established Church of Christ pastor who could have published the book on his own. There are lots more definite Indian mounds in Ohio than in New York. By accepting the visions of Smith, Rigdon was never more than second fiddle to a young man with no education whose years of claims of visions reduced the credibility of the book. And why bother with a 500 page book when a 100 page one would be just as effective, at much less effort?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:30 p.m.

    @scoley82

    "I find it also ironic how easily the account of the three witnesses are so easily discarded by critics."

    97% of climate scientists believe anthropogenic climate change is occurring... but look how many easily discard their accounts.

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 6:58 a.m.

    JM,

    "These have had signs enough, but seem to be bound in chains too tight for freeing, might not hurt to try, but don't trust them : ) on ANYTHING!! ; )"

    I think we know who is really bound by chains.

    To be able to consider the possibility of anything is freedom!

  • JapanCougar Apo, AP
    Aug. 12, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Joggle:

    In response to your comment: "Today we can find any number of societies where the majority has freely abandoned religion and God. Far from being dens of iniquity, these societies are the happiest, safest, and most successful in the world."
    Having lived around the world in some of these 'happiest, safest and most-successful' countries, I would strongly disagree with your argument that they have "[shucked] off the rusty chains of ancient superstition and questionable religions." (I disagree with your characterization of religion in these countries).

    Namely, I'd like to hear of a country in the world that does not have a large majority of the population who believe in a God or adhere to a religion. I used to believe that Japan did not, until I lived there. Nor is it true in other Asian countries or in Europe, where I have lived, for that matter.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    No matter how educated, or privileged, or smart, or creative, or inquisitive, or rich we are collectively or individually, there is still so much that we do not understand. When we try to apply absolutes to an active, interested, involved Creator we see incongruences that can rattle our faith. But when we understand that He loves us, that He is molding us, that He is perfecting us, that His commandments are often there to help us become something that better approaches His perfection and attributes, we see that He is a loving Father who, much like you, wants His children to achieve their full potential and thereby live with Him eternally. Living the commandments makes us happy, full, enriched. I love that.

    The Book of Mormon is a Godsend worthy of our emulation. We will get nearer to God by abiding by it's precepts. I love that it is so mysterious. If we are supposed to be such smart people, why are external theories for its origin more far fetched than the original explanation: that it came from ancient prophets of God? Don't be fooled. God is definitely in it's preservation and in it's translation. Cherish it.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    We must place in science our best hopes of knowing the truth about the BOM and its origins. The so-called spiritual methods are unreliable, non-falsifiable, and partake of the logic of a carnival game (or the Emperor's New Clothes scam).

    I have taken "Moroni's Challenge" many times over many years. The promised confirmation has never been fulfilled.

    Instead, I am repeatedly told that there is a flaw in ME.

    That is the classic confidence game illustrated by the Emperor's New Clothes story. If you can't "see" the "truth" (of the Emperor's New Clothes, or of the BOM), then YOU are not worthy.

    Most religions employ such fallacious logic, but Mormonism's use of this ploy is uniquely blatant.

    I am open to God's revealing to me that the BOM and LDS Church are "true". If that takes an appearance on the road to Damascus, or even University Parkway, and striking me deaf, dumb, blind, mute, or crippled, all I have to say is: here I am! I am not hiding.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Aug. 15, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Vanka: Your parable has one major (and several minor) inaccuracies:

    Joseph Smith never used the "treasure" for financial gain. He was almost always penniless, despite thousands of followers. He even failed (economically) as a storekeeper because he was too nice to collect full payment from his customers.