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Bearing my testimony to the cast of the 'Book of Mormon' musical

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    "I simply wished for the opportunity to tell those involved what I know to be the truth."

    If the statement was changed to "what I believe to be the truth", no one can argue.

    There are lots of people, LDS or not, who claim to KNOW the truth when it comes to religion. In reality, it is just what you strongly believe.

    Could a staunch Muslim or Scientologist convince a Mormon that "the truth" was in Islam or could be found by reading L Ron Hubbard?

    Just like any good marketing campaign, the goal is to convince the masses that your product is better than the competition.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:00 a.m.

    Thanks, Sister Butters - well said and thank you for the beautiful spirit accompanying your words...

    I think she expresses what many of us feel: that we wish people would just read the Book of Mormon and come to know it as those of us who have a testimony of it. I've read the book my whole life and always have felt that it reads and feels like scripture. I love the Bible and especially the New Testament - the Gospels and writings of Paul. For me, the Book of Mormon has that same powerful and persuasive way of saying that Jesus lives and loves us. Living the Gospel brings peace and an ability to cope with life's trials.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    @Joe Blow,

    Are you really going to quibble about semantics here?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Dear Joe Blow:

    When one has received personal revelation from God, then one KNOWS!

  • AZUtahn Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    Re: Joe Blow

    Reread the article focusing on the part where she quotes Moroni 10:4. We are not trying to convince anyone of anything, we are inviting people, everywhere, to open their hearts and minds to God and allow Him to tell them what is true. We can share our experiences and beliefs but it is up to each individual to take what they learn to the one true source of knowledge and ask for a confirmation, and if you will do that then you will know.

  • Commonman HENDERSON, NV
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    Dear Joe Blow,

    Do you know that no one can know, or do you simply have a strong belief that no one can know? If you know it, how did you come by this knowledge? What about this knowledge makes it superior to the knowledge that Sister Butters claims to possess?

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    @JoeBlow,

    What if both Mohammed and Joseph Smith were inspired by God, in their own time and for their own purpose, to help bring us closer to God? Mormonism does not claim any exclusivity on the truth. And certainly doesn't claim exclusivity of "goodness". See Moroni 7:16.

    What is your definition of "truth"?

    What if there is a God and what if He is our Father? What if this life is an opportunity for us to learn and find out what we can become? What if God merely helps us understand how things work and what we call "commandments" are things that help us be the best we can be? It's hard for us to conceive of anyone so pure in love and intent. But what if?

  • NT SomewhereIn, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    Thank you, Sister Butters - both for your missionary service and for your desire to share your testimonay.

  • my two cents777 ,
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    I've been inactive for a number of years- mainly because of illness- but reading Sr Butters account of the blessing of giving her testimony to the cast of the "show" brought tears to my eyes. It warmed my heart and soul as nothing else I have recently read and I thank you, Sr Butters, for sharing your firm belief in the Book of Mormon.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    @ Joe:
    "There are lots of people, LDS or not, who claim to KNOW the truth when it comes to religion. In reality, it is just what you strongly believe." Truth comes from God, when one sincerely and earnestly prays for the knowledge of the truth, God will reveal it, at that point it is knowledge, no longer "strongly believe"

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    "I realized they were just like anyone else — trying to find happiness, make friends and provide for themselves and their families."
    ______________________________

    That was something wonderful for that young missionary to bring away from an experience he had been anxious about. May it be so for more of us at awkward times in our lives.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    JoeBlow:

    When the power of the Spirit of God penetrates the heart and mind, it is knowledge. People really can know The Book of Mormon is true. Millions have experienced it. So long as one has faith in Christ, a sincere heart, and real intent, this promise will be fulfilled. It is amazing to see this promise fulfilled in many nations where people have different cultures, languages and religious (or non-religious) backgrounds.

    As an example, do a Google search for "atheist conversion book of mormon." The first three results are Mormon.org profiles you can read from "Bruce", "Mandi" , and "Rob." All of these individuals made mention of the scriptures or The Book of Mormon. And they all mention how they came to "know."

    Does this work for you?

  • BYU Joe MISSION VIEJO, CA
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    Ah the blessings and the dangers of the word "know." As an active and engaged member of the church I too struggle with the word "know" - after all I am not sure in this life I want to "know" anything for a certain. It is our doctrine that the only way to be cast out to Outer Darkness 0r in the vernacular - Hell - is to "know" and then turn away from it denying what what "knows."

    And yet at the same time believe is not a strong enough word. Nor is I have faith. And while my temporal body may not "know" many things my spirit seems to know a great deal. There are things I cannot see or touch that I do truly know - such as my love for my family.

    Do I think we should back away from the use of the word "Know?" Perhaps it could be used with more care and skill but until I have a better one I think it will have to do. I remain open to suggestions.

    Regardless of what I know or don't know I am that truth remains just that - truth.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Not all who think they "know" are zealots. In fact it is very few.

    But those zealots who "know" are much more likely to cross the line.

    Those guys on 911 "knew". So did the Jim Jones followers and the Heavens Gate folks.

    If you leave open the possibility that you just possibly could be wrong, you are less likely to go over-the-top

    And Cats. Lots of people have purported receiving "personal revelation from God" and I am pretty sure that you discount lots of their claims.

    Eastcoast "Mormonism does not claim any exclusivity on the truth."
    How about the "only true and living Church" claim? Sounds pretty "exclusive" to me.

    Commonman - I can easily and readily admit that I dont know. The LDS could have it completely right. Or not. Same with the Muslims or Jehovas Witnesses. And I am OK with that.

    Are you all saying that you believe everyone who claims the KNOW religious truth? What makes them different from you?

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Hi, "My Two Cents777,"

    If I were you, I wouldn't really say that you're inactive, because if your reason for not physically attending church is because of illness and things like that--stuff that you can't really control--but you're still strongly connected in your heart (meaning that you would be willingly going to church every Sunday if you could), then you should still count yourself as active. This sample of the fruit of your character that you posted here tells me that you are still active.

    The difference between you--still a good member with what appears to me to be a strong testimony--and someone who isn't still interested in the church even though they are still a member of it, is obvious--at least to me. Thanks for your posting!

    (You don't need quotation marks around the word "show" there, though.)

    Mike

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    JoeBlow: We have evidence, that must be explained away. The Book of Mormon exists. While clearly you haven't read it, it does exist. Why and how? It demands an explanation. The Koran or even the Bible are explainable as traditions, etc. You can't do that with the Book of Mormon. It has defied any other explanation except the one Joseph Smith gave. Look at the things in it that no one in the early 1800's could have possibly known (chiasmus, Nahom, Bountiful on the Arabian coast, legal structures, Olmec civilization, etc.). Look at the witnesses of it.

    The presence of the Book of Mormon elevates us far above the Jim Jones of the world. It doesn't PROVE the LDS church true--only God can do that-- but it provides far more concrete evidence than anything else in the modern world. So it's not just a "feeling", it's academically based as well.
    Incidentally, it's why the LDS church critics try so desperately to discredit the Book of Mormon--they understand its importance. The fact that they have failed every time should make you pause.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    The difference is that within the confines of this church we have access to blessings opened by authorized priesthood keys. Where else can you go to be sealed for time and eternity? Where else do you find temple endowments? Where else do we seek to open the doors of salvation for our forefathers? Where else can you turn to find a living prophet and twelve apostles? Where else can you go to find a second witness of Jesus Christ anything like the Book of Mormon? Where else can you go to get the multitude of blessings offered by the restoration?

    There are bits and pieces of good everywhere and in many religions. But nowhere is there more in one place than there is here and now. And more is coming! Much more.

  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Awesome story! Thanks for sharing. As a reminder, at least two people have told their stories of how they actually joined the church after attending "The Book of Mormon Musical." I suspected such things would happen and that the musical would probably do more good than any harm, as it would pique the interest of those sincerely looking for the truth. Those who aren't will be no more negative about the church than they are already.

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    Hi, Sister Whitney Butters,

    Whow, how did you get this job writing for the news so soon after your mission? Or did they just hear about this and ask you to write as a guest (while still giving you an e-mail address with them)?

    Thanks for your great story! How lucky/blessed you are to have been in that area where you could tell the cast of that irreverent show named after such a reverent and true book what you know about the gospel--particularly about how the book's contents help you--and what you would like the cast to know about it also! I hope they will gain testimonies over time, too. But if they do, maybe the show will have to find new actors or just close.

    You weren't trying to get the show closed locally, but if it's so irreverent that it's sort of disgraceful, then if these cast members felt the Spirit strongly enough, they wouldn't want to continue (and maybe only contract would keep them for a time). Maybe I should see it because of curiosity, but I don't think I'd appreciate it. We'll see....

    Mike

  • grj Bountiful, ut
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    What a well-written insightful article. It doesn't matter if Joe Blow ever agrees that knowledge can be independent of scientific "proof." It's OK for him to have a well-reasoned opinion. But what I took away from the story and the comments is that there are some awesome people out there and I want to try harder to be one of them. I lost my testimony of the church years ago and I'm still trying to understand how it happened; it's just gone. This story made me feel good, and I want to feel like this more often.

  • 11cAirborne Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    So what would we say to all the other religious individuals in the world who have experienced the exact same spiritual, uplifting feelings? Who are not LDS? Was it Heavenly father giving them the exact same revelations/confirmation in there faith, and why?

  • HeresAThought Queen Creek, AZ
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    I know that the BoM is scripture. I use the word "know" because I can't fully explain the feelings I receive when I ponder the passages that I read. No other earthly book or experience has provided me the feelings this book has. I use the word "know" because I can say without question that I would never deny the truth it speaks to me, or the belief in its divine authenticity. And while loose connections to other influential people or religions can be made to detract from the truthfulness of the gospel on this earth, these connections erode completely when you consider the Savior's admonition in Matthew 7:16-20:

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    11cAirborne'

    "So what would we say to all the other religious individuals in the world who have experienced the exact same spiritual, uplifting feelings? Who are not LDS? Was it Heavenly father giving them the exact same revelations/confirmation in there faith, and why?"
    ______________________________

    In his classic study, The Variety of Religious Experience, William James argues that the value of a belief is a separate matter from the objective reality of its origin. The Book of Mormon is one such example. I have no problem with people believing whatever they wish to believe. But it is disturbing when a devout believer tries to negate the validity of other people’s religious or existential experiences.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    @ JoeBlow - ""I simply wished for the opportunity to tell those involved what I know to be the truth." If the statement was changed to "what I believe to be the truth", no one can argue."

    Ahhh.....the old "I don't know it so no one can know it" argument.

    But I do "know" the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Yes, "know".

    I fully admit that the word "know" is a powerful word wrought with far reaching consequences, but that doesn't mean it is impossible to know something completely.

    You should read Boyd K. Packer's sermon called "A Candle in the Wind". In this sermon he talks about someone's attempts to explain what salt tastes like. They fully "know" what salt tastes like and tell Bro. Packer so, but they can't describe what it tastes like and in frustration they admit defeat in their feeble attempt to do so.

    Spiritually speaking, Joe, me and other posters here have tasted a kind of spiritual "salt" and just because we can't explain "how" we know, doesn't mean we can't "know" or don't "know".

    Read. Ponder. Ask with true humility.

    Good luck!

  • BaneOfHedgehog Bothell, WA
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    Hey Joe,

    Have you read it?

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    @ grj - Bountiful, ut - "What a well-written insightful article. It doesn't matter if Joe Blow ever agrees that knowledge can be independent of scientific "proof." It's OK for him to have a well-reasoned opinion. But what I took away from the story and the comments is that there are some awesome people out there and I want to try harder to be one of them. I lost my testimony of the church years ago and I'm still trying to understand how it happened; it's just gone. This story made me feel good, and I want to feel like this more often."

    One doesn't just "lose" their testimony of Jesus Christ and the truths He revealed. Our testimonies either grow or they die, there's no in between. And the growing or the dying is a result of conscious choices.

    Good luck rekindling your flame! With God, what can not be accomplished?

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Joe Blow:

    Here is a summary of what the "only true and living Church" means:

    1) Christ is the Savior of the world and the head of the church
    2) The church has the foundation of living prophets/apostles that Christ himself calls and directs them by revelation regarding His doctrine and church
    3) Is the only church with authority to preach Christ's gospel and administer gospel ordinances (like baptism) required for salvation and to be valid in the hereafter

    Here is a summary of what the "only true and living Church" does NOT mean:

    1) Other churches have no portion of truth
    2) Other churches' service to others is of no worth
    3) Other churches do not have inspired or good people
    4) People in other churches/religions are going to heck no matter what (DN censored the other h-word and denied my previous attempt to post)
    5) People in other churches/religions cannot have a testimony of the Savior or experience a portion of the blessings and gifts that come through faith in Christ

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Evidence of God comes in several classes:
    1) Historical. Scripture is historical evidence of people's interactions with Diety.
    2) Physical. This is evidence from Nature, such as the very fined tuned physical laws that govern life.
    3) Experiences of others. This is the class of things such as miracles, or visions such as Joseph Smith had.
    4) Ultimately, though, the only convincing evidence of God is personal experience that you yourself have. Nothing else can ultimately convince anyone. Tellingly, MY experience with God does nothing for YOU. You must experience God yourself. That's the "Feeling" that some here are denigrating. Visions, btw, amply do not satisfy. The LDS church history is replete with people who saw visions yet fell away even while never denying their visions.

    So you must experience God for yourself. The Book of Mormon is a vehicle designed to lead you to your own experience with God. That's ultimately the purpose.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Apparently God prefers to manifest himself only to individuals who have met certain conditions.

    Innocence and humility IS power.

    Ironic isn't it?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    Thanks, Joe Blow. There are truths that I believe we can know, and those I believe we can't. And I have an innate suspicion of those that claim a truth that seems unknowable or exclusive. One thing I know for sure, spelling the word 'truth' in capital letters does not make it more so.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    Maybe just read the book and if it helps you live a better life then its good. Don't try to one-up each other on who "KNOWS' for sure.

  • pogo8702 SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    There are things you believe....with all your heart.

    Then there are times and a few pieces of truth...... which you can come to know.

    It's been a very long road for me. As an RM, occasional trouble-maker...and now a member of a bishopric ... I can tell you that there are some things you think you know (believe) and there are some things you know. Period. And you know that you know them.

    Thanks be to God for those things. .... I (and millions of other people, probably) KNOW God lives, that there is a living prophet of God today and that the Book of Mormon is his word.

    Any equivocation on that statement is an insult to heaven and a denial of my testimony.

    What a rock such knowledge provides for life in this chaotic world.

    Thank you all for your convictions as well....and for this beautifully inspired experience.

  • LouisD Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    I am stricken by the comments of both @JoeBlow and Some responses. I think in his own way, JB brings us to the reality of modern religion. People of all faiths firmly believe they "know" the truth. There is however one measuring stick that I know separates men's beliefs from pure knowledge of the truth and that measuring stick was given us by God.

    "By their fruits ye (we) shall know them (the prophets)."

    I know this from examining history:

    1. Joseph Smith taught us that "JESUS DIED TO SAVE YOU."
    2. Mohammad taught that "YOU MURDER AND DIE TO SAVE ALLAH."

    Just reminding people that by their fruits, ye can surely know them!

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    @11cAirborne--
    I have good friends and multiple acquaintances from various walks of life and religious convictions who pray and receive answers to prayers, who receive important truths, direction, comfort and peace in the process. These are individuals who feel guided to accomplish important service in their lives and who make a huge difference, in both large and small ways, in the lives of their fellows. The fact that they may not be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not prevent them from having a relationship with God or helping accomplish His work. There is nothing in all this that contradicts the beliefs and teachings of the LDS Church--it all helps accomplish God's work and helps all of us become more like Him, and all work done on His behalf will accrue to these individuals' credit in the eternities. God is "no respecter of persons". He answers the prayers of all who seek Him, regardless of their religious affiliation, and will use all who are willing in His work, regardless of religious affiliation.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    What a cool experience! Good for the cast members being curious and respectful and good for sister sharing what she knows. You can get hung up on what it means to "know," but any way you cut it, the Book of Mormon draws a lot of people closer to God, helps us see beauty and purpose in this crazy life, and motivates us to try keep moving forward.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    To use Joseph Smith's words, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." JSH 1:25, Pearl of Great Price.

  • LouisD Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    @11cAirborne-- God hears and answer prayers, sometimes unexpectedly.

    By age 14 my family had done exactly as Joseph's,attended many different churches and faiths. We'd settled on the Lutheran Church.

    Scheduled for baptism I prayed to know if I should change vocations from architecture to the Lutheran ministry?

    Like Joseph, I was age (14) and experienced a significantly similar revelation from God; that I should not become a Lutheran or join any other earthly faith. I was told to study the scriptures, expand my mind and one day would be lead to what the Lord called, "The Household of My True Faith wherein I would become for Him a fisher of men." I did as bid and didn't become a Lutheran.

    At age 17 the physical thirst of a 107F summer day (1970) drew me into the Woodland Hills (CA) chapel for want of a cold drink of water. Upon entering, the Spirit began to pierce my soul in the foyer, speaking clearly as we do yet Spirit to Spirit. "Thou hast entered the Household of MY TRUE FAITH. Join ye now herein and become for me a fisher of men." I received "Living Water" for life.

    Our faith is true!

  • Bernard GUi Puyallup, WA
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    The play is more than irreverent. I suggest you Google the lyrics of the songs. If this were done to any other religious or ethnic group, there would be outrage.

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:24 p.m.

    I find it wondrous how Sister Butters received the wish of her heart-to bear testimony to these actors-and was able to do so by the Spirit. Is that not a miracle unto itself?

    Miracles like this happen each day if we awake to them, and find opportunities to share our own truths. Whether belief or knowledge, it is precious to us, and difficult to communicate to others.

    My work is in the film and theater community. Many of my close friends have SSA, and struggle with the position God instructed on the matter. I find The Book of Mormon Musical an opportunity more than a stumbling block, and welcome any method to bring others to a recognition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

  • my two cents777 ,
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    Thank you, Mike!

  • And_im_a_mormon Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    I have read the comments so far, and I would caution active LDS to avoid softening or understating canonized doctrine. Investigators, and even current LDS, have access to vast resources of research (some official LDS sites, some not). To fog certain doctrines which might be sensitive, is counter productive. It's one thing to be "a peculiar people", it's quite another to be unwittingly deceptive. My opinion would be, to lay it all on the table, and let the truth stand on it's own merit.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    Thank you Sister Butters for sharing your experience and beautiful testimony!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations,
    The Book of Mormon,3Nephi Sermon on the Mount. LDS Scholar Dr. Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV errors.

    i.e..#1,Mt 6:13 KJV and 3Nephi 13:13 Both have the doxology, For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based on 9th to 12th century texts. Earlier and better manuscripts do not contain the doxology.

    Dr. Larson “A great portion of 3Nephi is "borrowed and lifted" from the KJV Bible. Larson found 3 Nephi holds exactly the same sort of errors that are unique to the 1769 version of the KJV Bible J S owned.”

    The MS discoveries since the KJV have provided a much better understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. Greek MS 200 A.D. thru Latin, Syriac, Coptic and patristic early support, which leads to the original text. There is unanimity support by modern scholars, but The BoM leads us to a verifiable text in history.

    RE:Cats“(1 John 4:1).. test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world…..verse 12 No man hath seen God at any time..

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    The older I get the more I realize that EVERYONE knows that they belong to the only true church. My Mormon friends "know" they are right. Same with my scientology friends, they know they are right. Muslims, Catholics, and FLDS are the same way. When I ask them how they know they all say the same thing, God has told them through prayer, the spirit, a burning in the tummy, etc....

    What is wrong with saying "I don't know". I just hope. I don't know anything.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    To: BleedCougarBlue

    So how do you "know"?

    If you are going to say that it is from the spirit or a felling you have had then I must ask this question.

    Are feelings and emotions infallible? Or can they be tricked or manipulated?

    What do you think when Muslims say they "know" they are the only true church. Or the FLDS when they say that. Do you believe them, or do you assume that they have been tricked?

    I think most outsiders think you (Mormons) mean well but that you are trusting feelings and emotions when perhaps you shouldn't.

  • Marigold Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    Sister Butter, thank you for sharing your experience and testimony of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the only book with a promise--from God...You can't get anything better than that!

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    sharrona:

    First-hand witnesses clearly indicate Joseph Smith did not use/have the Bible(or other texts) during the BOM translation process -- "copying" is not an appropriate word. All we know with certainty is the BOM translation was done by "the gift and power of God."

    Can you explain-away the following evidences the BOM is a translation an from ancient record?

    1) Presence of chiasmus (unknown in JS's day)
    2) Translated If/And clauses in original BOM manuscript, consistent with an ancient, non-English language(s)
    3) Written on metal places, consistent with ancient practice (unknowng in JS's day)
    3) Metal plates/records bound with rings, consistent with ancient practice (ring-binders weren't used/invented in JS's day)
    4) The BOM "title page" translated from the last leaf of the plates/records, consistent with ancient practice (unknown in JS's day)
    5) Entire Jacob 5 in BOM - JS, his contemporaries and the people in that area & time period in America had no clue or knowledge about grafting branches, pruning, and dunging olive trees.

    How do you explain these?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 15, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations,

    ",,,,Presence of chiasmus (unknown in JS's day...."
    ______________________________

    Consider these following two very familiar sayings from the King James Bible.

    “....whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them....”

    “....the last shall be first, and the first last...."

    Chiasmus is a common element of English composition and everyday speech in Joseph Smith’s time and our own. Are you sure you’re not confusing the term with something else?

    As for knowing with certainty that the Book of Mormon was translated by “the gift and power of God” we have only Joseph Smith word on that. If you’re claiming to know it with certainty because of a personal spiritual witness you had, I certainly respect that conviction.

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    The "salt" story as an example to explain spritual knowledge is an interesting one. The problem is that salt is a ubiquitous physical substance. If someone didn't know how salt tasted you could just give them some salt. You can't quantify the varieties of spiritual experiences and you certainly can't get consitent results in a scientific sense. It seems to me that confirmation bias certainly plays a role.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 4:19 p.m.

    I wonder if it offends God to have the word "Revelation" thrown about the way it is? I'm not trying to be disrespectful but because you have "Burning Bosom" regarding something you have prayed about dose not indicate revelation from God. Are the prayers of ALL of God's children answered? Yes! Everyday, but not through revelation.

    During Fast Sunday at your local Ward House inevitably a small child will wander to the podium with Mother or Father attached. With a whisper in the ear the first thing the child blurts out is "I know this Church is true"? How does a 3 year old know that? By revelation?

    Is the LDS Church a "True" Church? Yea I think it is. I believe it's part of God's plan along with several other Churches. If the journey starts and ends with God and is filled with love, respect and peace then in my opinion it doesn't matter the route you take.

    I have prayed to extent about this and here is what I get. In the end, God wants us to seek knowledge from several sources. No one group or person has a corner on salvation.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:46 p.m.

    Craig Clark:

    Chiasmus was definitely not a common element of English composition in Joseph Smith's time. Nice try. It was not until roughly the 1920s in the United States that articles were published about chiasmus -- well after the BOM was translated. Even then, a semi-educated farm boy like Joseph Smith could never have been able to make up chiasmus. BOM chiasmus is strong evidence of the translation of a legitimate, ancient record and language.

    We also have God's word the BOM was translated by the gift and power of God. It is not just Joseph Smith's word. Here is a part of the testimony of the three witnesses:

    "[...] And we also know that they [the plates] have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. [...] Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; "

    There you have it -- God's own voice declared to the three witnesses the plates were translated by the gift and power of God. Are you willing to deny they were true witnesses?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:55 p.m.

    RE:c 1.96 Standard Deviations, Jacob 5 in BOM - JS, his contemporaries and the people in that area & time period in America had no clue or knowledge about grafting branches, pruning, and dunging olive trees?

    I have digged about it…and I have dunged in…(Jacob 5:47. I shall dig about it , and dung it,(Luke 13:8)
    The branches of the wild olive-tree, and graft them in…(Jacob 5:9). The branches be broken off,and thou being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in. (Rom 11:17).

    In 3 Nephi 13:12,& Mt 6:13 KJV. (Jesus)“ deliver us from evil. Did Jesus teach the Nephites an abstract prayer in 34 A.D.? The correct translation of Mt 6:13 NIV,LB, NET, is “deliver us from the evil one”=[ho poneros].. JS copied the KJV.

    @Are you willing to deny they were true witnesses? Yes. i.e..
    Is 29:14 JST,” But the book (BoM)shall be delivered unto a man(JS).verse16 by the power of Christ, verse 17,”the three witnesses”. Not supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint or KJV. Do you believe this as well?.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:51 p.m.

    Ok guy, the Bible cannot be explained simply by traditions. Just setting the record straight. We would do better as a church if our children were more educated in the Bible. It is ALL connected. AND by the way, the New English Translation is WAY easier to understand than the King James Version. I have the Action Bible for my younger kids and when we read as a family we read a version of the New English Translation. Even my returned missionary likes that NET better than the King James Version simply because she can understand it!

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    What Joe Blow said is true. I received a revelation that the BOM is true; but I also received a revelation that The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, PA) is His Church on the face of the earth today.

  • danielPA Newcastle, WA
    Jan. 15, 2014 9:52 p.m.

    So very good. And NONE of us should EVER worry about whether we have affect anything. We do. When we reach out to a neighbor, a Toastmaster club, a minister, or such a group as this, with either uplifting/true principles, or our testimony, it DOES have an affect. Weeks, or years, later, if nothing else: Someone would say to another, I was there, or I met this Mormon, and he seemed so happy and sincere. If you get the drift. Make those relationships! Many situations will be that you should start with asking and finding out about the other person(s), and pretty soon they will ask, well, how about you... And many people are moved by the third, fourth or fifth such touch. Reach out and touch someone. It's easy to start with asking of them.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Jan. 16, 2014 1:20 a.m.

    Well there it was, the very first to comment with the same tired, failed argument from Joe Blow: "I don't know, therefore no one can know." College Logic 101 course -- this paraphrased statement is untrue.

    As I've commented before -- "I know, therefore others can [possibly] know." I have no idea whether or not Joe Blow can know. His/her presence in this comments sections on so many occasions leads me to believe Joe Blow wants to know. That's a starting point.

    So Joe, if it helps, I have seen with my eyes and heard with my ears, as well as my with heart, that The Book of Mormon is indeed the word of God, coming forth just as Joseph Smith said it did, and that the organization described as the Mormon church is truly THE Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days leading up to and preparing His second coming. As I've said before to you, these are among things I KNOW; there are other things which I only just believe; there are things I'd like to believe, which I accept on faith. I know the difference and understand the literal semantics involved.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations,

    I won't challenge what is a matter of faith to anyone. But I place a high value on academic integrity. We obviously have quite different understandings of history and events regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon. We'll just have to leave it at that.

    Best wishes.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Jan. 16, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Brent T. Aurora CO

    Many of us KNOW - we just don't KNOW the same conclusion that you do. I have studied, prayed, pondered, thought, and I KNOW it isn't true. By revelation.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 16, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    "Well there it was, the very first to comment with the same tired, failed argument from Joe Blow: "I don't know, therefore no one can know." "

    Brent, That is not my position at all. And I never said it.

    What I will say is this. Lots of people in various religions have claimed to "know" as you have. Do you believe them all? Or do you discount some or all of them?

    Those who claim to "know" are generally (if not always) in conflict with one another.

    So, either all of those folks are wrong, or all but one (or a small group) are wrong.

    Im just going with the odds.

    So again. My question to you.

    Of all those who claim to know the religious truth, how many of them do you believe and how many do you discount as receiving incorrect confirmation?

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    Neither of us has been to the moon. Here again we could both say we know Armstrong went there. Some say the space program is a hoax; and neither us can say we KNOW.

    The Conference Center there in SLC is an amazing edifice. Inside no pillars; atop tons of concrete, trees and landscaping. I've both read about how this was done and SEEN the results; suspect you have, too. We both KNOW it exists and can be done. Anyone claiming to KNOW otherwise, we'd both know they're wrong and could advise how to correct their misperception.

    What I said above, that you commented on, presents a quandary. Because I do KNOW -- again, with my own eyes and ears.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 16, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    And you completely sidestepped my question.

    Of all those of various religions who claim to "know", which ones do you believe?

    Any? All? None? Some?

    And how do you decide.

    It kind of like the boy crying wolf. Seems that all religions seem to claim that they "know". So excuse me if I put you in the same category as all the rest.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Brahmabull said: "I have studied, prayed, pondered, thought, and I KNOW it isn't true. By revelation."

    I first had someone say that to me when I was tracting on my mission (~1972). He was fervent as he stepped onto his porch and said almost exactly those same words. It shook me to my core ... but it was maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. It cause me a few days of angst as I considered what I did know and what I didn't know. But as I considered what I had experienced before and what I was currently experiencing, I knew that I knew. Despite his "testimony," mine was solidly in tact.

    I don't deny that he might have had such an experience. If so, I won't even try to figure out the "why?' of it. I just focused on what I knew to be true. Since that day, I have never had to question my testimony again. Instead, I make the effort to have current spiritual experiences that strengthen and broaden my testimony.

    Yes. I know. And not just from a single experience but from a deep well of continuing revelation.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    I have read, prayed, studied, fasted, and all the other things as regards the Book of Mormon. I am convinced "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that it is NOT "true".

    For decades, missionaries, bishops, and ward mission leaders have come to me “proclaiming the Gospel”. They tell me I should believe some declaration about the existence of God, a pre-earth life, the Plan of Salvation, miracles, the Book of Mormon, latter-day prophets.

    I don’t believe any of it. They have not given me sufficient reason to believe. It is not my fault, it is theirs.

    If they want me to believe a proposition, they have the responsibility to give me sufficient reasons for belief. They have failed to do that for decades.

    I have explained why I find their reasons insufficient. But they take my explanations as my being “anti-“ and “hateful.” They are simply explanations as to why I remain unconvinced.

    That doesn’t make me a bad person. Disbelief is not a sin, and not a moral flaw.

    Stop treating us as if it is.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Being married to an active LDS woman, and attending her Ward meetings regularly, has been quite educational as well as disturbing.

    Condemning people for not believing is the most troublesome aspect of the Church. People are made to feel they are sinful or unworthy if they do not believe. This has always puzzled me.

    It is similar to the trick used by magicians and confidence men (and women). They make outrageous claims and condemn you if you don't believe them. Out of fear of condemnation, people go along with the fraud. They forget that the burden of proof is always on the person (or Church) making the claims. If the person "proclaiming the Gospel" does not provide adequate reasons for belief, then the evangelizer should be condemned, not the evangelized.

    Little children in the Church are indoctrinated to think that they are sinful/unworthy if they do not believe everything they are told. They grow up fearing they are unworthy/sinful if they have doubts or if they don’t believe all the stories. That seems a horrible way to grow up. It seems it would cause a lot of anxiety and depression.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Condemning people for unbelief is an extension of thinking belief is the responsibility of the believer, not the proclaimer. It creates a network of people who believe because everyone else believes. They have severed belief from its logical moorings in fact and now float in a social network of believers.

    This social network becomes very exclusive and elitist. People who do not believe are marginalized and outcast. The group puts a great amount of emphasis on “believing” (“testimony”) for its own sake, regardless of their actions.

    For instance. LDS who have tried to convert me over the years say I need to "repent" (change). I ask them what I need to change. I attend Church with my wife, I don't smoke, drink, use drugs, or anything else. My actions are as “worthy” as any LDS member (maybe even more worthy in some cases).

    My actions and the way I live my life are insufficient to the LDS Church because of overemphasis on belief. I can’t just be a good person. I have to believe unbelievable stories to be accepted and to avoid condemnation. That seems very irrational and immoral.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 16, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Scientist: I'm not sure who you think is condemning you. Nevertheless you seem very sensitive on this topic. I honestly don't believe there is an intent to condemn. But perhaps we stumble over our own feet doing and saying things we think might help.

    I did get a chuckle out of one thing you said: "It is similar to the trick used by magicians and confidence men (and women). They make outrageous claims and condemn you if you don't believe them. Out of fear of condemnation, people go along with the fraud." That sounds to me like the LGBT community.

    (Readers: Please, I am not trying to turn this into a discussion of that topic. I was just struck by the irony.)

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Jan. 16, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    My last comments weren't so much edited as simply posted incomplete. In past posts on other articles I have elaborated the differences between KNOWING and various shades of BELIEF where some will understandably label (in a lack of clarity) strong belief as KNOWING. I am in possession of things I KNOW (saw with my own eyes or heard with my own ears or experienced in my heart), many things which I believe, things I want to believe and accept on faith, things I don't believe... so forth.

    Of the things that I KNOW, where someone claims to KNOW the opposite or in contradiction, then because I KNOW I therefore also KNOW they are wrong. Why they are wrong? Perhaps they overstate or misuse the term KNOW (most likely, and why I counter with arguing semantics as I'm doing here).

    Plainly, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church -- THE one and only. Any others aren't. I KNOW this. But all humanity are God's children, and regardless of creed, all are loved by Him... goodness and wisdom (other things) are not limited to Mormons or Americans or the 21st century.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    To windsor:

    What about all the people in the world who have done that and have been told the Catholic church is the true on. Or Islam is the true church? Or scientology or FLDS? Billions of people around the world have asked God and they have been given different answers.

    Is it possible that using feelings and emotions to find "truth" is not the best method?

    Maybe our feelings and emotions can be manipulated or tricked.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    @ Church Member:

    Emotions and feelings are one thing. The Holy Ghost speaking Truth to the heart is quite another. They feel different.

    I can get emotional over a touching story or movie, but the feeling of the Spirit has an added component of peace and light that goes far beyond an emotional response. It is hard to explain, but the feelings are different.

    True testimony comes from both feeling and "rational" learning. God has used both to change my heart...

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    To RedWings:

    I respect that.

    I just think that most religious people believe as you do, that the Holy Spirit or God has talked to them. I just don't think that feeling the Holy Ghost is the most accurate way to find truth since their are hundreds of religions that claim to be true. But we can agree to disagree.

  • ScottBB Orem, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    I agree with JoeBlow.

    I've been active my whole life. Served a mission. Married in the Temple. I even do my home teaching most of the time. Despite this, I'm disturbed how Mormons overuse the word "know." I think it takes more courage and integrity to use the words "I believe that..." or "I have a strong conviction that..." when sharing a testimony. There's too many "Sams" pretending to be "Nephis", if you catch my drift.

    And Coach Biff, this is just about semantics.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Jan. 18, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    Brent T. Aurora

    And I and many others KNOW that is is not god's chosen church. I KNOW that Joseph Smith isn't what he claimed. I KNOW that the book of mormon is simply an 19th century fictional work. I KNOW you are wrong because I KNOW I am right.

    windsor
    How would you know if people were sincere and honest when they found out the Book of Mormon isn't true... ?? . Millions of people have come to the same conclusion - so I guess they are all lying? Unlikely.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Jan. 18, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    Branmabull said: windsor
    How would you know if people were sincere and honest when they found out the Book of Mormon isn't true... ?? . Millions of people have come to the same conclusion - so I guess they are all lying?

    You answered the question yourself, Brahmabull--the people come to the conclusion...

    The conclusion was not given to them by God--they drew the conclusion themselves.

    Big difference.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    windsor

    So not in one instance where somebody found the Book of Mormon to be false could it have been from god? Astounding logic.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:42 p.m.

    An earlier commenter asked Who is condemning me?

    I have faced false judgment and condemnation for thirty years. It is an accepted way of treating those of us who do not believe all the claims of the LDS Church.

    Simply because I do not believe the BOM is true, members judge me and condemn me of thirty years of being insincere, lacking in "real intent", and having no "faith in Christ".

    They tell me I am "fooling myself" (lying to myself?) and being dishonest as well as not "serious" and not "humble enough."

    These judgments are typical and frequent from LDS believers. They might as well be coming from the fraudulent tailors who crafted the "Emperor's New Clothes" and insisted that anyone who admitted they could not see the clothes (could not "see" the truth of the Book of Mormon) was unintelligent and unworthy.

    I get this kind if judgment and condemnation regularly.

    Do you need further evidence? This is a serious moral problem in the Church.