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Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Naive assumptions about New World Christians

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  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 9, 2011 4:32 a.m.

    "if we approach the problem with preconceived expectations based on naive assumptions, it shouldnt be any wonder if we dont find what we are looking for."

    Have to agree with Mr Ash here. However that sword cuts both ways and could just as easily be written as

    "if we approach the problem with preconceived expectations based on naive assumptions, it shouldnt be any wonder that everything we find supports those assumptions."

    The article makes a good point. I understand it can be difficult to tell ones religion via archeology. But, that leaves out the elephant in the room.

    How about this. First, find those civilizations numbering "hundreds of thousands and possibly millions" and their "great cities" and then we can quibble over what church they went to.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 9, 2011 5:29 a.m.

    Why do some people say that seeing a possible relation to archeological findings and the Book of Mormon is pseudo-archeology? Why do these then say that the methods used to verify apologists theories are pseudo-rigorous? It's kind of like saying that those who do not receive a witness that the Book of Mormon is true is because they are exercising pseudo-faith, if there is such a thing. I don't think there is such a thing as pseudo-faith any more than there is such a thing as blind faith. Faith is faith.

    Why don't some people receive an answer as to whether or not the Book of Mormon is true? I don't know. For those who struggle to receive an answer, if all you can do is lean on the testimony of your spouse, children, or parents, then start with that until you can receive your own testimony. Turn to those who love and care about you the most and who you should be able to trust to tell you the truth. Ask them what has helped them to believe. Maybe those same things that have helped them will help you.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 9, 2011 5:45 a.m.

    Something to think about is that in more recent history than that of the BookofMormon you have the Roanoke Colony (Lost Colony.) It is said these colonists disappeared after three years had elapsed without supplies from England. If something like this colony could disappear, why then is it so hard to think that those of the Book of Mormon could have been wiped out, building structures destroyed and those who remained could have blended in among others who might have been on the continent?

    Think about how much excavating archeologists have done in finding ruins and remains in various sites throughout the world. Then think about how much has been ploughed over, or picked up by treasurer hunters and archeologists and how many of those things by now might be stored away in boxes.

    It seems easy to dismiss stones and tablets, though there are those who are finding these things to be genuine, but how do you dismiss earthworks and ruins? (Newark Earthworks State Memorial) Among those who are finding these things to be genuine are some who are not members of the LDS faith. Could any of these things have some relation to the BookofMormon? Don't know.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 9, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    "Some critics have suggested that because the Book of Mormon claims that Christ visited the Americas, there should be an abundance of evidence for this miraculous event."

    ---

    According to the BOM, when Christ supposedly visited America there were MASSIVE GEOLOGIC upheavals.

    If that were true, there would be MASSIVE GEOLOGIC Evidence to support it.

    Where is the evidence? Where is it?

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    May 9, 2011 7:00 a.m.

    Mr. Ash, you're making the assumption that your sharing genuine facts. The louder you speak my friend the less we can all hear.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 9, 2011 7:01 a.m.

    Another great article.

    I can't wait to see what the detractors have to say about how he doesn't know what he's talking about and how his articles are laughable. Another good one is about how the more he writes the more ridiculous he gets. Same old, same old.

    Mr. Ashe, your articles are great and very intelligent. Thanks for all your efforts.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 9, 2011 7:12 a.m.

    This is a disturbing attempt to explain why no recognizable Christian artifacts are found in Meso-America. The archaeological value of ceramic studies cannot be minimized, neither can the significance of pottery development during the Late Preclassic period be ignored.

    Apologists claim that during the 400 years of Christianity in America, BofM people were overwhelmed in a population of others. Most troubling to me is that this identifies real people, their history and artifacts as belonging to "others". It is a poor excuse for why archaeologists cannot find evidence for pretend mythical people. It should be a valid concern that LDS members might think less of the real Mayans and their rich and incredible culture. The apologists are promoting fantasy people over reality.

    Mr. Ash said this about a fragment of pottery: "that piece of history provides little evidence concerning the civilization that created or used the pot."

    Has he closed his eyes to science? Ceramic Petrography is used to find where an item of pottery was made. How far it was found from where it was made gives a way to trace the movement of pottery and associated trade. All from a fragment of a pot!

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    May 9, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    The Nephites were Christian for at the most 400 years? It seems to me that Nephi and friends knew quite a bit about Christ. It's interesting that Nephi (the first Nephi that is) even knew the word "Christ" or "Bible." I would submit that the pre-christ Nephites were much better at seeing the future than Old Testament prophets. I think that the Nephites were Christian for at least 1000 years. Your perspective on Christ is greatly enhanced from the 19th century as opposed to the Old Testament prophets perspective, and the Book of Mormon is evidence of that.

  • IndependentLiberal Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    I am not here to debate whether Mormons are now Christians. A Christian is considered by definition as a follower of Christ. Ash puts in his caveat by placing Christian in parentheses an indication of an argument of semantics. Alma writes that they were called Christians about 100 years before the birth of Christ. Dont regale me with JS translating the word Christian from reformed Egyptian using the Greek word as understood to mean Christ. The whole thing seems a bit too much of a parachronism for me. FAIR even changes the definition of Christianity to believer. Words dont fit, change the meaning!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 9, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    It seems JoeBlow (4:32) is correct: Mr. Ash is putting the cart before the horse. He needs to go back and establish that indeed there were dinosaurs that roamed this planet earth millions of years ago, before he starts arguing what color they were.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 9, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    It is abundantly clear that there is not strong, direct evidence of the story as described in the Book of Mormon. It seems that for the past month these articles have been laying the groundwork for the fact that all evidences to date are circumstantial. That is not being critical but simply an obvious, objective reading of these articles.

    Ash assert that we only have 400 years of Nephite Christian society from which to find archeological evidence. The entire Book of Mormon speaks of and looks for Jesus Christ. It seems the very purpose of the book from page 1.

    I am not being critical when I say that it seems clear that scholars and apologists are literally re-writing the traditional LDS belief of the Book of Mormon before our eyes in order to make it more compatible with the glaring lack of evidence. EVERYTHING, including the extent of Christian belief among the Nephites, has been dramatically reduced and minimized.

    Part of me says this is a positive effort toward a more reality based LDS theology. And yet another part sees this as just further proof to the overwhelming realization that everything screems man, not God, made.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    May 9, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    If Ash is trying to convince us that we are unlikely to find evidence of Christianity in MesoAmerica, then let's just move on to the next subject. The Mormons are the only group I'm aware of that would even suggest that such evidence is found there, so if Ash is agreeing with the lack of evidence, then let's just move on to the next subject. There is nothing to debate.

    Ash also suggests that we shouldn't approach the problem with preconceived expectations based on naive assumptions. That's another thing we can agree on. I just hope that he can hold to such ideals. My biggest concern about LDS scholars is that they do the very opposite of this by starting with the naive assumption that the Book of Mormon is a literal history and trying to fit the world into that view. I mean that is the very premise of these articles.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 9, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    If I remember, the term Christian is used well before Christ visited the Nephites. In Alma 46 the Nephites are refered to as Christians. That lack of detail by the author was a little surprising to me.

    I also have to agree that there should be massive geological evidence based on the events of 3 Nephi should have left some discernable evidence, at least in light of the bones and rusted swords found by King Limhi's search party. Also, the land of desolation was so named because of the deforestation that had occured when the Jaredites lived their several hundred years earilers, which establishes a precedent for finding geological events from earlier civilizations.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    May 9, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Another great article Mike. Right on again about critics denying no matter the evidence. They already know there are many interesting parallels between Indigenous Peoples' religious symbolism and Christian iconography. In fact, there are so many that the critics "just chance" argument has become impossibly absurd and is added to the mountain of dead critical claims.

    Critics also already know that other evidences are growing so rapidly that they are on the run, and can only fabricate. They know and admit they are dishonest in their claims, and everything from DNA to morphology and countless ruins and correlations testify to the truthfulness of the BoM. Still, they are unmoved by the rising pure river : ). They hold fast to chains of darkness, which testify that Satan is reality also, and we must be vigilant, lest we become this also : )

    luv yall, still very busy.....

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 9, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    This whole thing is starting to become almost surreal. It seems that it doesn't matter what apologists say - true believers will always say the exact same thing. As if they don't even read the articles.

    Earlier Apologists - "We have a ton of evidence. Literally everything we find screams of BofM atuhenticity."

    Believer response - "Great article, right on point, critics stink."

    Current Apologists - "Actually we should not expect to find evidence of anything stated in the Book of Mormon. But here is a long list of logical reasons why we should not...."

    Believer response - "Great article, right on point, critics stink."

    Apologists three to five years from now - "Wasn't JS wonderfully inspired to write a book, that while we all have known for years was not historical and never claimed it was, that reinforces our testimonies of the Savior."

    Believer response - "Great article, right on point, critics stink."

    Apologists ten years from now - "Book of Mormon? I'm not sure we have ever taught that."

    Believer response - "Great article, right on point, critics stink."

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    May 9, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    I'm assuming the believers have conceded there is no direct eveidence that any civilization that could have been the BOM people exists. I'll concede it is always possible it could be found later, but today none exists. How about some kind of reference to this great civilization in the histories of Mayans/Aztecs/Incas/ or whoever succeeded the BOM people? Certainly old world middle eastern civilizations that disappeared were known about. Even the legend of Atlantis is beginning to procude logical sites. So you take a legend (Atlantis) look hard enough in the appropriate places and you find underwater cities. Why isn't there a legend of a great civilization that disappeared? Even if only as a story bragging how their ancestors conquered the lands from them?

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 9, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    I used to think that those posters who claimed to be members, but had doubts as to the historocity of the BoM, were sincere, and were really just looking for more info, even though they didn't always agree with Mr. Ash or other posters.

    However, after today's posts, and several others in the most recent weeks, I think it is pretty clear that the usual "doubting mormons" are neither doubting, nor mormon. It is evident in the way Mr. Ash's comments are often distorted, and other poster's comments are distorted, that their intent is to criticize, and lead others down false paths.

    I'm cool with folks who are honest about not agreeing with the BoM, or mormons in general, even when not so nice about it. But I have little patience for those pretenders who intentionally deceive through commission, omission, and outright distortion.

    If you don't believe and are not mormon, cool. Just man up and admit it, and stop the intentional deceit. You know who you are.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    "if we approach the problem with preconceived expectations based on naive assumptions, it shouldnt be any wonder if we dont find what we are looking for."

    Incidentally you haven't found what you are looking for based on the preconceived expectation that the book of mormon is true. Does that make you naive?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 9, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Mike Ash speaks of the Book of Mormon people as though he were intimately familiar with their history and cultures, and then does an about face and states that evidence doesn't exist? How pervasive was Christianity? The Book of Mormon outlines a conflict between two or more alleged civilizations - but it says nothing as to how much public awareness there was on Christianity. While LGT is the theory he prefers, there is no absolute proof of it (in fact there is no proof of anything, which is why Ash is so fond of LGT). All Ash is doing now is speculating on what he thinks are reasonable expectations of old world archaeology and Book of Mormon support. Still he has failed to explain why other assumptions are naive. So here it is - Ash, if the Book of Mormon is true then I expect that there has got to be some reasonable evidence. That evidence can be of any kind, it just has to bee solid. Now, explain why I am naieve.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    "I think it is pretty clear that the usual "doubting mormons" are neither doubting, nor mormon."

    Well I can only speak for myself. I'm an inactive LDS member who had joined the church almost 5 years ago (baptized may 2005), inactive due to a lack of belief in the Book of Mormon or the notion that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Essentially I consider myself a non-denominational christian since my beliefs (examples: lack of belief in Trinity doctrine, belief in eternal marriage) don't match up with any denomination.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 9, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    "...it seems clear that scholars and apologists are literally re-writing the traditional LDS belief of the Book of Mormon before our eyes in order to make it more compatible with the glaring lack of evidence."

    Having been raised LDS with its rich BoM traditions and cultural conventions, I nearly hang my head in shame when I witness such obtuse attempts by LDS scholars and apologists who create scenarios where previously understood beliefs become insufficient conjecture...all in an attempt "to make it more compatible with the glaring lack of evidence."

    Perhaps my worst weakness (and eventual irreligious downfall according to many rigid LDS fundamentalists who like to demonize an honest doubter...you know who you are) is to capitulate to the reason and logic that my screaming brain so forcefully demands in order for me to maintain any sense of intellectual self respect.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 9, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    To Fred Vader -

    I'm not sure if you are talking about me or not. If you are, I can accept that. I have wondered myself if this is the correct forum to be working through my doubts? I AM LDS and DO doubt many things right now. I don't want to hurt those who are sincerely seeking or investigating because even if I cannot fully believe I do respect those who can or need to.

    There are sites actually for LDS who doubt. NOM is probably the best. I probably should work things out there.

  • Jeff S Sandy, UT
    May 9, 2011 3:14 p.m.

    Idaho Coug, I appreciate your comments. They are a refreshing break from many of the commenters who know their position is true (not matter what position that is). I get a strong a sense you are trying to be honest with yourself, something I often find very difficut to do.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 9, 2011 4:08 p.m.

    I agree with Ash's statement that there is not an abundance of evidence outside of the Christian literature for the actual existence of Jesus as well as the non-Christian evidence not being massive. Lack of evidence simply does not support a claim that something actually exists. It can't! Amazingly, the question of an actual historical Jesus rarely confronts the religious believer. The power of faith has so forcefully driven the minds of most believers, and even apologetic scholars, that the question of reliable evidence gets obscured by tradition, religious subterfuge, and outrageous claims. It is no different with the LDS faith.

    I'm not a Mormon, former Mormon, or a Christian, but I'm married to a former Mormon born and raised in the Church before I met him. I was born an atheist, introduced to religion, and remain an atheist in the sense that I simply have an absence of belief that any deities exist...with well thought out reason. My only belief in God is that God is the Universe.

    I criticize religion in general and not the LDS faith exclusively. If my comments stimulate critical thinking and reasoning....then I've achieved my goal.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 9, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    Perhaps a better title for today's article might be "Naive assumptions about New World people".

    Readers would do well to realize that the apologists misuse and misrepresent the work of scientists. It might be necessary to set aside a desire to believe the BofM in order to get closer to reality.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 9, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    RE: Full-on double rainbow

    Believers in the BOM, "apologists" have not changed thier views in 180 years,
    so would they start 3-5 years from now?

    RE: Michael_M

    I think is save to save to say the critics of Joseph Smith and the BOM, anti-BOers, ans doubers:

    would do well to realize that they also misuse and misrepresent the work of scientists. It might be necessary to set aside a desire to NOT believe the BofM in order to get closer to truth.

    sometimes BOM critics and antiBOMers can be awfully simplistic to point of silliness in thier arguments.

    some seem look for excuses and not reasons to doubt.

    BY the way, the nephites or believers, until Christ's coming to America practiced the Law of Moses not christianity, even thugh they were taught to look forward to the coming of Christ and his fullfillment of the law of moses, just the same the isrealites in the old world.

    Answers come to those sincerely want know the truth, whose hearts are open to the truth, no matter waht it is,

    some have decided what answer is before their knees have hit the floor,

    sincerity mustInclude self-honesty.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 9, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    Since we are on the subject; it might help to better understand some of these articles if there was a more succinet definition of the difference between a propagandist and an apologist. Maybe someone will explain how one is to understand the distinction of one from the other when applied to religious promotion.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 9, 2011 8:19 p.m.

    Here is an example of why one should set aside a desire to believe the BofM in order to get closer to reality.

    My wife has been told that she is from a degenerate and devolved people. Such an idea comes from the BofM. Delusion in the face of scientific evidence probably explains how someone could "feel" it acceptable to call my wife's ancestry degenerate and devolved.

    Consider the practice of trepanning in Pre-Columbian America. "The Skull Doctors" is a good article to start with because it shows the development of a surgical procedure to treat head injuries. The method was much more than simply making a hole in someones head. Survival rates of the patients rivaled modern surgeries. The practice developed into a surgical art only after the BofM events had ended. Also, the region where this happened was not in BofM lands of Meso-America!

    So those wicked Lamanites who fell away from God developed brain surgery into an art form for medical purposes after they were cursed with a dark skin, after they killed off all the righteous Nephites, and after they became idle, loathsome, degenerate and devolved. Hmmmm

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    May 9, 2011 8:22 p.m.

    @Idaho Coug

    I don't think you should let anyone try to tell you what your intentions are for posting here. I can appreciate anyone who can experience the kind of "cognitave dissonance" you appear to have and yet remain active. For me the biggest hurddle was/is the social stigma involved with leaving the church. But once the dust settles I can tell you that living dissonance free is not too shabby.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    May 9, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Law of Moses? That should have made an impression on the locals. Certainly there are legends of a people of practiced a unique and foreign law. Did they have the Torah? It seemed to survive during the diaspora. How come not the new world?

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2011 8:48 p.m.

    Thanks for this article Mr. Ash. Of course, you were kind enough to leave out the major reason for no evidence is the systematic destruction of all things native american after the arrival of Columbus in America, and the necessity for funding of viewing No. and So. America as being "only" populated by migrating ancients across the Bering Strait. So, little really is known of pre-written history in all areas of the world that it is akin to putting together a 1,000,000 zig-sawed puzzle with half the pieces missing. Best advice make few conclusions and maintain an open mind as even the odd religious story of golden plates, angels, and messanic visitations just may be true.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 10, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    The Nephites were Christian for, at the most, 400 years?
    And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come. (Alma 46:15,72 B.C.)?
    And the disciples were called Christians(*Xristianos)'FIRST in Antioch'.(Acts 11:26 Greek N.T.). *X=chi.
    The Greek word (christianos)meaning "follower of Christ"comes from (christos)meaning "anointed. The Greek Septuagint O.T.(Apostles Bible), christos was used to translate the Hebrew, word Messiah, meaning "[one who is] anointed.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 10, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Re: the truth

    If you read the Book of Mormon, specifically begining with Alma, chapter 43, the Nephites called themselves Christians. Nephi, Jacob, Abinidi, Amulek and Alma also talk extensively about their belief in Christ. You may remember that in Alma, chapter 30, that Alma confronts Korihor, who is specifically called and Anti-Christ because he believes that they had no way to know that a Christ would come.

    You are valiant in supporter of Mr. Ash, but I feel that it is hard to see your point of view, when you present it in a format that it is dificult for the average reader to fully understand. In particular, I find it hard to understand all of the abbreviations you use.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 10, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    aaazzz:

    You may also recall that King Benjamin desired to give his people a name in Mosiah chapter 5 - and that new name was Christ. You will also recall some scripture mastery from Nephi where he stated (I don't want to look up the reference):

    "We talk of Christ, we preach of Christ, and we rejoice in Christ, so that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins".

    Not an exact quote, but you guys know what I am saying. Apparently, though, Ash is now informing us that mabey they didn't talk, preach, or rejoice, nearly as much as Nephi suggests.

    Furthermore, it is interesting that when debating the argument of whether Mormons are Christian, someone is always quick to try and argue that the Book of Mormon has more overall references to Christ than does the Bible. They even go so far as to count the total number of words in the BoM and the Bible, then compare the ratio of Christ words to total words, as proof that we are Christians. So which is it - did the BoM peoples know about Christ, or was Nephi full of it?

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 10, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy said:

    "Apparently, though, Ash is now informing us that mabey they didn't talk, preach, or rejoice, nearly as much as Nephi suggests."

    You may want to reread what Ash wrote. He didn't say what you are inferring/implying. And who is this "one person" that goes to the trouble to count the number of times "Christ" is mentioned to prove we are Christian? Bit of an exageration I think.

    Here is an intersting question for all: If (much to the pleasure of many commenters on the D-News) all of the Mormons suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth today, would Archeologists/historians 1600-2000 years from now be able to prove with absolute direct evidence that we existed? Even with all our churches, temples, etc.? My guess is they wouldn't, or wouldn't have much direct evidence only parallel, because many of these items would be obsorbed by others, used, built over, deteriorate, etc. Heck most people now confuse us with JW's, Scientologists, Christian Scientists, etc. Not sure they wouldn't do the same 2000 years from now. Why so difficult to believe that it couldn't have happened to Nephites?

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    May 10, 2011 1:23 p.m.

    aaazzz and Mormoncowboy:

    The problem isn't so much whether they were Christian or Hebrew; it's how they expressed their religion. As Mr. Ash said, dishes and forks wouldn't help future archaeologists determine if a household were LDS, but a portrait of Christ or picture of a temple would be a good clue. A Nephite household might contain iconography that points to its occupants' religion, but would we recognize it as such? What icons would a separated Hebrew people have? The BoM is amazingly mute on any Hebrew practices after Lehi. What icons would we expect a Hebrew family to have in 600BC?

    The other source of clues would be religious buildings. Historically, religious buildings are monumental and are rich in iconography. Throughout the text there are allusions to temples and Alma and sons taught in synagogs. If they were build of wood as ? has said, they probably aren't standing, but durable icons might still exist. If temples were built in stone, there should be quite a bit of iconography. However, the temples in mesoamerica don't resemble Solomon's and the iconography closely details the myths of the existing cultures, not Judeo-Christian mythology.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 10, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    Ok Fred, I'll Bite. But clarify the question to be much more applicable to the discussion that we "should" be having.

    Lets use Salt_Lake_City as an example.

    The answer is most likely yes. Archeologist would absolutely find the remnants of a "great city" and be able to determine that it was inhabited by "hundreds of thousands" of people. There would be no doubt that it existed.

    Would they know that the population of the area was LDS? Possibly, but maybe not.

    But they would certainly know that there was a city. That is a start.

    _______________________________

    Now back to the discussion at hand.

    Isn't it rather odd to discuss the religion a group of people that may or may not have even lived? And if they did live, it may have been in North America or maybe Central America or maybe South America?

    And this group of people could have numbered in the Millions but certainly in the Hundreds of thousands at a minimum.

    You cant find proof of that civilization, but you are sure that they were Christians?

    And the basis is the writings of the BOM?

    Surely you see the absurdity.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 10, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    2nd Paragraph from the article:

    "First, its important to remember that the Nephites were Christian for, at the most, 400 years. Second, the Nephite-Christians were a small group of persecuted believers among a sea of non-Christian believers in the ancient Americas. Some critics have suggested that because the Book of Mormon claims that Christ visited the Americas, there should be an abundance of evidence for this miraculous event."

    I don't know how the BoM text supports the proportion of believers to non-believers stated here. Sure, some cases we learn that non-believers were "more numerous", but I don't quite know how to break that down into workable proportions beyond that. Still - some of the clues I would be looking for is ancient legends and literature referring to Jesus with the Greek descriptor Nephi was privy to, "Christ". What about records referring to Nephi? If the ancient "Nephites/Lamanites" wrote so much, how about some metal plates referencing anything in The Book of Mormon? How about ancient indian legends referring to the white bearded god - Jesus Christ? If they did all of this preaching and writing, one would expect some sign - Ash calls that naivety.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 10, 2011 3:13 p.m.

    Joe:

    No need to "bite", it wasn't meant as a trick question. Just something for discussion. I'm not sure your "city" example works. I get the angle you are coming from, and it makes sense, but for what I was asking, I think the question is still, "could they prove with direct evidence that Mormon's existed."

    In correlating with your "city" example, I think both Central and South America have great examples of "great cities." There just isn't any direct evidence in them that the Lamanites or Nephites lived in them. Parallel, but not direct, i.e. no "Nephi slept here" signs. (By the way, I don't advocate for the mesoamerican model, just using as example to your "city" idea). So, in this case, we have "great cities" dating back to the times of the Lamanites/Nephites, but no direct evidence that they lived there. It isn't too far of a leap to argue that many of their items were obsorbed by others, used, built over, deteriorated, etc.

    On your second question, it would only be odd if we were having this discussion from a purely archeological viewpoint, minus religion. Here, not so odd.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 10, 2011 3:25 p.m.

    Okay let's think about things a different way. Let's take this hypothetical. No book of mormon, joseph smith, or any of the modern LDS church existence. Where the only two options are "none of the nephite stuff is true" or "God doesn't call a Joseph Smith type person until 2100" (except of course we aren't aware of any religious generated options like that). Without the existence of the LDS church would we have any reason at all to take current archaeological knowledge and consider these ideas of Hebrew immigrants to North America and stuff like that in the Book of Mormon? Or is the only reason that stuff is being considered the fact that the LDS church exists?

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 11, 2011 8:02 a.m.

    Without the existence of the LDS church would we have any reason at all to take current archaeological knowledge and consider these ideas of Hebrew immigrants to North America and stuff like that in the Book of Mormon?
    ----
    I think it might be possible because Hebrew or Jewish people exist. The Bible says Israel was scattered. Why then couldn't God have led some of these people to various places throughout America, with these taking their traditions with them? If God led those of the Old Testament through prophets, why wouldn't He lead those led away from Jerusalem through prophets? If prophets of the Old Testament kept a record by which we have the Bible, why wouldn't these other prophets have kept a record, also. If prophets of the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Messiah, why wouldn't prophets in other regions of the world have foretold the coming of this same Messiah who would be Jesus Christ.

    Nephi said he saw his Redeemer even as his brother Jacob and the prophet Isaiah had. King Benjamin said an angel taught him that the name of the Messiah would be Jesus Christ.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 11, 2011 8:19 a.m.

    It seems to me the Lord can appear and speak directly to or send angels to His prophets wherever they may be and reveal many things to them.

  • born again Murrieta, CA
    May 14, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    I heard a pastor give a great talk the other day about how simple it is to follow the Lords request. Jesus(God) wants a direct relationship with us. The followers of Christ understand that Catholics have the correct God, they just add on rituals in order to try and get closer to him. There is no need for that at all. Mormons and JW unfortianately are praying to a completely unbiblical God, that they have come to the notion that he is the literal son of God and that there is a mightier God somewhere else. If you open your'e bibles to John 1:1, it is stated quite clear that there is one God only. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and He was with God in the beginning." The Word is Jesus and Jesus is God. John 1:14 "The Word became flesh(Jesus) and made his dwelling among us." Jesus is God in the flesh. Rituals, modern day prophets, modern day temples etc. these are ways for the evil one to steer you away from a direct communication with the Lord and Savior JC.