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Defending the Faith: 2 Book of Mormon 'errors'

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  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 1, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    I'd be more concerned about steel swords and horses than a couple of words, Dr. Peterson.

    In any case, the BOM is still a work of fiction.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    May 1, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    These are a couple of the weakest arguments against the Book of Mormon that exist, but thank you for refuting them anyway.

    If the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction, nobody has yet been able to prove who made it, after nearly 200 years. I guess that is where "faith" comes into play: believing something without having any evidence whatsoever. Such as the Book of Mormon's allegedly fictitious nature.

    The presence of steel swords and even horses in ancient America has already been resolved long ago. But those who insist on living in denial will never be persuaded otherwise.

  • Hawk Littleton, CO
    May 1, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    HA! Yes, the words "horses" and "steel" are a MUCH more pursuasive argument that it is a work of fiction, right Ranch? Over 500 pages of text, and those two references are your evidence against its validity? I think you're missing forest for the trees, Ranch. But thanks for chiming in....

  • Robb Cundick Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon is a work of God. No critic has yet been able to refute that fact for me.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    May 1, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    Over 500 pages of text, and "horses" and "steel" are the only things you look at to be able to dismiss the entire thing conclusively as a work of fiction?

    Somebody is definitely missing the forest for the trees here, yes, but it isn't Brother Peterson. Somebody else is also letting their preconceived notions get in the way of doing any genuine, honest research…or perhaps, more
    accurately, deliberately placing them in the way.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    @antoday

    The issues of horses and steel in the BoM was resolved long ago? That's news to me, and news to the church actually. The church readily admits that there has yet to be a single steel artifact discovered from the precolumbian Americas; nor have there been any artifacts pointing to a horse culture or horse skeletal remains. I would love to hear how these issues have been resolved.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 1, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    @Ranch re "In any case, the BOM is still a work of fiction."

    I believe you'll need just a tad bit more proof than that if you want to convince most inquirers.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    Believing something to be true is not by itself a way to establish the truth. Objective, honestly obtained, honestly tested and honestly discussed evidence is required.

    To date, all available objective evidence supports the conclusion that the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, are exclusively and in their totality the products of human minds.

    You have the right to believe what you want. Beliefs are personal. The truth should be objective.

  • girl.in.slc Salt Lake , UT
    May 1, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    Anyone who still believes in the Book of Mormon simply hasn't done their research. With modern internet search engines, it's clear it was a work of fiction.

    Check out Chris Johnson's "How the Book of Mormon destroyed Mormonism" on youtube.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    There is simply no reputable evidence or peer reviewed data outside the Mormon apologetic community to support the numerous anachronistic claims found in the BoM...period.

    Unfortunately, apologists like Peterson spend way too much time trying to create assumed associations regardless of contradictory evidence in order to advance an illusion of probability when such probability is entirely unsupported by non-Mormon archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, scientists, or scholars.

    Apologists do a huge disservice to the LDS community by engaging in such pretentious argument. They forget that belief in the authenticity of the BoM is a matter of faith...and there it should remain.

    With all due respect, I believe the church would be much better served if stopped supporting the excess of logical fallacies perpetuated by apologists trying to defend BoM authenticity and instead focus on the book's overall message.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    The issues of horses and steel is not missing the forest for the trees. They are just two simple examples of a much deeper problem. The BoM presents an entire culture, a culture that was familiar with horses and steel weapons. The problem is that no culture yet found in any of the Americas fits the culture described in the BoM. The "trees" is the fact that these cultures as described by the BoM simply never existed in the Americas, the horses and steel issues are just two facts that support the main point.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    We shouldn't start off on our search for truth with the question already answered.

    There are too many people like Dr. Peterson who start off with the answer (that the church is true) and then try to find everything that they can to convince themselves that they are right.

    Instead, what we should do is look at ALL the evidence on the matter and then make a decision on whether or not the Book or Mormon is literal truth. We are less biased when we do it this way. That is why it is so sad that children are indoctrinated into their parents religion before they know how to think for themselves.

  • MoreMan San Diego, CA
    May 1, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Let's start and end with the Lamanites and Nephites.... DNA proof/ archeological evidence/ empirical data that they emigrated to the America's from Israel would be really helpful. Even the church has backtracked on that one.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 1, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    @Blue ... re "You have the right to believe what you want." For now, and not like only a decade ago. This right is being eroded.

    Re. "...exclusively and in their totality the products of human minds." How is it possible that early man would develop the means of his own repression? I understand the idea that man would develop religion to repress others, yes; but the 'narrow road' standards apply to the men who came up with the idea, too. How do we lend credence to the belief that man decided to fabricate a Being who would condemn them to eternal torment if His precepts weren't followed? This seems too unlikely to me.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    @Moontan

    By that logic the greek gods must also exist. After all the people who believed in them believed that these gods tortured and tormented man all the time, sometimes just for fun. Since it seems too unlikely for you to believe that men would invent a being or beings that condemn them, then Zeus, Apollo, Hades and the rest must all be real.

  • Big Bubba Herriman, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    To all the horse and steel critics I say, absence of evidence is not absence of truth. Absence of evidence for horses and steel can never prove the BofM false. This not a spiritual dictum - it is a scientific tenet.

    I can never quite understand why critics care about things like horses and steel when they've made up their minds that the BofM is false. It almost seems like they're trying to justify their decision that the BofM is false, a common theme for people who leave the LDS church.

    Back in the late 1970s critics used to talk about how grains like barley had not been discovered in ancient South American archaeological evidence, yet the BofM mentions barley. Care to guess why this criticism no longer comes up? Because evidence for ancient barley was discovered in the early 1980s and reported on in a scientific journal. Now the critics have looked for the next criticism du jour, "horses and steel."

    Anyway, the truth of the BofM is established in a spiritual not material way, as millions of people have already discovered.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    May 1, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    ".... it’s doubtful that the very unsophisticated Joseph Smith of 1829-30 was even aware that “adieu” was French...."
    ______________________________

    The first great anti-immigrant antagonism of the early United States was the immigration influx from France when John Adams was President. I find it highly unlikely that the common French salutation 'adieu' would have been one that Joseph Smith never heard of.

    Apologists for the historicity of the Book of Mormon undermine their arguments when they reach to such ludicrous examples.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 1, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    @Blue ... Because I can promise you, if Moontan and the boys fabricated a God, this Being would be a rock 'n roller. Cool Dude in the extreme. Not being funny here, either. I'm saying a god I made up would not restrict or control some of my basest desires and wishes. I don't think early man is an exception, either. Any being man invented would reflect man's desires, and therefore I doubt moral sins would be included.

  • hymn to the silent Holladay, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    The real question is: "If evidence of steel swords and horse skeletons and DNA proof were discovered, would all the naysayers believe?" Of course not. And what difference would it make anyway? Our relationship to God is a living, breathing relationship; not one based on antiquity. The verities I live by are in the human heart, revealed by a loving God in His time, as He sees fit. I have never been disappointed. But I have been let down, even amused, by intellectual consensus attained by human reasoning and research...the truth attained by man alone takes far more faith to live by than truth revealed by God.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Many people claim that the Book of Mormon has yet to be refuted or proven to be untrue. But we Mormons are discouraged from reading "anti" Mormon literature, so how most of us would know if something is false about mormonism would be through MORMON teachings, including apologetics. Seems a bit fishy to me.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    I can't prove the BofM to be "true" or not.

    But this I know: when I read it, I feel uplifted, encouraged, and comforted. And when I live by the principles in it, I am a vastly better person.

    No other work of fiction has been able to do that much for me.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    For those who believe the Book of Mormon to be a work of fiction, I invite you to read it, ponder it, and ask God whether it be true. I know it is true. It was written for our day to help us navigate through all the trials we face. It contains the words of Christ. Why wait for science or scholars to prove it to you when all you need to do is read it and ask God? He'll tell you faster and in a more specific and individualized way than any scientist or scholar ever could.

    I don't think it is the intent of the author to convince us the book is true by sharing a few things he has discovered. I think if he wanted to convince us of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, he would do it another way, not by sharing facts or proofs from research. If you want to be convinced of the truth, ask God. He knows.

  • Outside-View Federal Way, WA
    May 1, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    People strain at every possible reason to discredit the Book of Mormon while, if they are believers in God, simply accept the Bible and its full history and how it came to be, with no care or concern.

    I hope that people will focus less on the sintex of words etc and put their efforts into living the gospel as taught in both of those books. They will find peace and happiness if they do.

    If people want to critcize the Book of Mormon, focus on a teaching that it includes that they dont feel is helpful in making you a more Christlike person. Doing this will certainly reduce the # of critics tremendously.

    It will also reveal that most critics arent trying to find a more pure collection of Christ like teachings, they simply want to try and convince people that there is no God in the first place. The email containing the anit Mormon document called "Letter to a CES Director" that the Trib recently reported as being sent LDS Business COllege students is the perfect example of that. It offers nothing of value other than to try and get people to abandon faith in Christ.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    May 1, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    @The Wraith ... Not really. Greek gods were humans writ large. Beings with human characteristics greatly intensified, including emotions such as anger, revenge, etc. Proof than man can indeed invent his own deities, but only deities that reflect themselves. That's why they didn't last. The God of Abraham & C. is an entirely different God.

    @Weber State Graduate ... Mormons scholars producing Mormon studies supporting the truth of Mormonism are not to be take seriously because they are Mormon? Did I misread? Does that apply to all organizations, or just to Mormons?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 1, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    There are simply too many inconsistencies with the entire Book of Mormon, and the way it came about for it to be true. One must really reach to believe it. You literally have to convince yourself that it is true and that you must have faith. There are too many errors in the original Book of Mormon for it to have been a translation. There are too many oddities with the way Smith showed the plates to the witnesses (always covered, and the three had to go to a field and pray to see them.) There are too many quotes in the Book of Mormon that come directly from the 17th century bible that Joseph smith owned. There are too many other things that Joseph Smith translated completely wrong - including the Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook plates, etc.

    One of these problems, by itself, wouldn't be too big of a deal. But all of them together, and it is just too much to overlook. Combine that with the fact that the plates cannot be examined by qualified people to authenticate them. It just doesn't add up. If something looks like a fraud, it usually is.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    May 1, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    How did Jesus walk on water? Or turn water into wine? How was the entire earth flooded? How was a body of water parted with dry land between and then immediately receded to bury Pharaoh's army? Or, if Heavenly Father and Christ live at the center of our galaxy, how did they get here wearing just robes to appear to Joseph in a pillar of light? Compared to these more significant queries, completely unexplained by the combined genius of mankind, the issue of horses and steel swords seems very trivial. Certainly I cannot explain any of these.

    But, is God a liar? No. And He has told me that His Son could control the waters as intimated by the above questions, that He did in fact appear to the boy prophet in that grove of trees in upstate New York... and importantly to the subject of this article... that the Book of Mormon is a true historical account which took place in this, the Western Hemisphere. Can it be explained or proved? Do we have all the answers? No and no. The only proof I need is God saying it is so, ultimately the best proof there is.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 1, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    @Big Bubba – “To all the horse and steel critics I say, absence of evidence is not absence of truth.”

    True, but based on that logic do you feel justified in believing in Zeus, Santa Claus, or Unicorns? I can’t prove they don’t’ exist.

    As a non-and never have been a-believer I don’t have a dog in this fight (BoM) but we should note that religion simply has an abysmal track record when it comes to providing knowledge about the natural world.

    Whenever I’ve pointed this out religious people almost always backtrack and say things like “religion is about meaning and why” and that’s fine. But then why do apologists spend so much time trying to defend religion’s claims about the natural world – and a claim about a supposed ancient culture is a fact of history & archeology (i.e., science) and becomes fair game for scientific investigation.

    For those who need mythic religion, I hope for your sake your faith rests on something deeper than facts which can be adjudicated by science. If not, like millions of believers before you, you’re bound to be disappointed.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 1, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    Brent T. -

    Yes that would be a great thing, except god has told me and many others - that he didn't speak to Joseph Smith and that it isn't true. He has also told me that the Book of Mormon isn't true. So yeah, that isn't a reliable source or everybody on the planet would get the same answer.

  • true huddersfield, england
    May 1, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    One of the most amazing facts about the Book of Mormon is that it took Joseph Smith only about sixty-five working days to translate a book that, in the current edition, is 531 pages long…(Over a quarter of a million words). That works out to be an average of eight pages per day. (Three thousand Words a day) At such a pace, only about a week could have been taken to translate all of 1 Nephi; a day and a half for King Benjamin’s speech. Considering the complexity, consistency, clarity, artistry, accuracy, density, and profundity of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph’s translation is a phenomenal feat

  • ZAM! Omaha, NE
    May 1, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Let it be clear that while there are contradicting passages in terms of historical accuracy found in the Book of Mormon, the same could be said for the Bible. For example, historians attack that the idea of a worldwide flood is impossible because there is no evidence of it in the soil. Or the idea that the origin of languages came from a incomplete tower. Or talking donkeys. Or chariots of fire taking somebody to heaven. Or somebody coming back from the dead.

    So, why is it that people still read the Bible and/or the Book of Mormon, even with all these fantasies, as the world puts it.

    It is because they try things out. Every time they read it, something inside them tells them that what they read is true. Somehow, it makes sense. It just has to, they think. Let me try it out.
    We all test something. So, if the Bible tells you to do something, why not try it? And if it works, would you do it again. And again.
    That is what faith is. It is testing something that seems impossible but actually works.
    And that outweighs even the best of historical accuracy.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    May 1, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    There are people on here who say "but you can't prove it's not true". That is true. It is hard to prove a negative. You cannot prove that Warren Jeffs is not a prophet of God or that Zeus is not a God. You cannot prove that the 'Lord of the Rings' didn't really happen a long time ago.

    The burden of proof is on the person who makes extraordinary claims. Unfortunately Mormons don't have much proof to show that they are right. They only have "feelings" and "emotions" that tell them that it is true. The only problem with that is that feellings and emotions are highly unreliable.

  • true huddersfield, england
    May 1, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    The fact that there was only one version of the book ever published (with minor changes in each printing). This is most significant. It is now known that the Koran, the only book claiming an equal amount of divine inspiration and accuracy, was completely re-edited at least three times during the lifetime of Mohammed.

    The unhesitating and unchanging position of Joseph Smith regarding this book. From the day the Book of Mormon came from the press, Joseph Smith never ceased to spread it abroad, and he never changed his attitude toward it. What creative writer would not blush for the production of such youth and inexperience twenty years after? What impostor would not lie awake nights worrying about the slips and errors of this massive and pretentious product of his youthful indiscretion and roguery? Yet, since the Prophet was having revelations all along, nothing would have been easier, had he the slightest shadow of a misgiving, than to issue a new, revised, and improved edition, or to recall the book altogether, limit its circulation, claim it consisted of mysteries to be grasped by the uninitiated alone.

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    May 1, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    @Craig Clark

    I think you misunderstood what Peterson said. He didn't say that Joseph hadn't heard of the common French salution 'adieu.' He said the Joseph was probably not aware that it was French.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 1, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    true

    I have news for you. Joseph Smith didn't translate it in that amount of time. That is only what he claims. He had possession of the plates (supposedly) for much longer then that. He could have been, and likely was, working on the text for the entire time... I would bet that he was working on the book long before he even mentioned the visitations of Moroni.
    He had much longer then 65 days. If you gave me a few years, I could produce a work that long too... Then I could tell you it only took 50 days to do. Impressive, right?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 1, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    @Moontan – “Proof than man can indeed invent his own deities, but only deities that reflect themselves. That's why they didn't last. The God of Abraham & C. is an entirely different God.”

    You must not be familiar with the Old Testament - specifically read the early books like Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy (check out 1st Samuel too) for some real human-like wrath, revenge and barbarism.

    And by the way, if you read those books I would recommend you read them with the same disposition you would adopt when reading any other sacred texts from any religion not your own – i.e., with your critical thinking brain fully on and not switched off by religious feelings of sacredness and awe).

    Just a suggestion…

  • michaelitos Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Just to settle the horse debate (which proves that sometimes it takes a while for science to prove what some know by faith):

    Horses (Equus) did exist in North America prior to Columbus. However, for still unknown reasons, they went extinct. The relatively new (27-year-old) field of molecular biology, using mitochondrial-DNA analysis, has recently found that the modern or caballine horse, E. caballus, is genetically equivalent to E. lambei, a horse, according to fossil records, that represented the most recent Equus species in North America prior to extinction. Not only is E. caballus genetically equivalent to E. lambei, but no evidence exists for the origin of E. caballus anywhere except North America.

  • crimendelsiglo Spanish Fork, UT
    May 1, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    @brahmabull -

    that is only what YOU claim; prove that JS had it "much longer than that".
    "he coul have been ... "
    "likely was ... "
    "i would bet ... "

    i, crimen, give you a few years, many years ...
    then publish it, with extraordinary distribution, "new" names of persons, places, thing, etc etc
    those who CAN, do; those that claim continue to claim, and some do. do it ! talk is cheap, actions speak louder

    completely unimpressive !

  • Cameron Ford Kaysville, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    There are plenty of evidence to be found both for and against the Book of Mormon. It just depends what you go looking for and what emotional filter you have decided to put on your intellect. In the end, that is why it is a matter of Faith. People that claim they can objectively look at religious issues are deluding themselves. You find evidence of bias in scientific research all of the time. This is why the argument that only Mormon scholars have found evidence falls so flat in my mind. The reason they are the only ones finding it is because they are the only ones looking for it! They are biased to look for it just like non-believers are biased to look for evidence against it.

    In my personal quest to find the truth I have come to the conclusion that the evidence for the Book of Mormon as an ancient document is much more difficult to explain away than the evidence against it. Google Book of Mormon evidence Cameron Ford to see my reasoning(To Understand a Mormon).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    @2, Book of Mormon 'errors'?

    RE: Mosiah 3:7. The Textual Problem of Luke 22:43-44, Blood”, because of the serious doubts as to these verses’ authenticity. *Bracked and noted by Modern translations “. E.g Not in Papyrus 75 175-225 or found in codices א, A, B, T, 1071.

    RE: I Nephi 10:9 and John 1:28 KJV: Bethabara beyond the Jordan. Older and more reliable Greek MS support, “Bethany”. i.e…(John 1:28 *NET,NIV,ESV) Bethabara was probably not on the Jordan River.
    Bethanyis strongly supported by {P, 66,75.(175 A.D.), B Codex Vaticanus and many more.

    RE: (Alma 7:10). (Jesus)…born of Mary at *Jersusalem … who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost(Spirit) and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God.

    "In *Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet(Malachi) has written: ".( MT 2:5),, Fulfilled Prophecy is what separates the Holy Bible from all other books..

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 1, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    true

    You and I must have very different views on what consist of 'minor' changes in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has MAJOR changes in it. Not only that, but so does the doctrine and covenants. If the revelations were recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants exactly how the lord gave them, why would there be a need to change them to give them an entirely different meaning? Even Joseph Smith's close associates noticed that Joseph was doing this, and they did not like it.

    crimendelsiglo

    there has already been a person to do it. Christopher Nemelka. Look it up. It is very impressive if you think the Book of Mormon is impressive. If you don't believe the Book of Mormon, it too looks clumsy, just like the Book of Mormon.

  • logicguy TUCSON, AZ
    May 1, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    My father received a masters degree in anthropology and archeology from the University of Arizona in 1941. For his master thesis he excavated a place called Ventana Cave on the Tohono O'Odam indian reservation west of Tucson. The cave contained evidence of human habitation that spanned a few thousand years. Near the bottom of the heap he found horses teeth that were dated to some time before the Book of Mormon period. More recently, horse remains have been discovered in the Americas that date to shortly after the BofM period and hundreds of years before the Spaniards arrived. I have read that an Israeli museum has on display a steel sword that dates to around 600 B.C.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    "Mormons scholars producing Mormon studies supporting the truth of Mormonism are not to be take seriously because they are Mormon? Did I misread? Does that apply to all organizations, or just to Mormons?"

    Of course it applies to all organizations. Any scholar worth his/her salt understands that a study with an extraordinary claim must be subjected to verification from an outside source to help guard against the cardinal sin of "confirmation bias" within the academic community. Outside evaluation and peer review adds an element of credibility. Selectively interpreting or ignoring unfavorable data, as is the case with most internal Mormon studies, is generally seen as an obstacle to any kind of reliable conclusion and is rightly held in suspect by academics outside the Mormon community.

    There is simply no reputable evidence or peer reviewed data outside the Mormon apologetic community to support BoM claims...that's why its authenticity must remain a matter of faith.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    May 1, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    teeoh,

    "I think you misunderstood what Peterson said. He didn't say that Joseph hadn't heard of the common French salution 'adieu.' He said the Joseph was probably not aware that it was French."
    ______________________________

    Joseph very likely knew that adieu was of French origin. Even if he didn’t, it’s a weak and silly argument Professor Peterson is making.

  • Gene Poole SLC, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    Currently, there is a challenge to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read the Book of Mormon in 85 days. The length of time it took Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon. I took the challenge and in fact became so engrossed in it that I completed it in 13 days. It is the first time I have ever read it cover to cover. I have been a member since 1964 and when I read it then, it was not completely. I felt it was real and true after reading a several portions of it. My life was pretty hectic and I relied on a still small voice to guide me to the truth. Still do. I have seen several attempts to discount the book to a work of fiction. None have done so. I'm a writer and I can tell you that it takes me 2-3 years to write a book of 3-400 pages. How this was written in 85 days with many previously unknown facts about the Americas is remarkable if it is a work of fiction. However, it is not.

  • logicguy TUCSON, AZ
    May 1, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    Brahmabull: "He had much longer then 65 days. If you gave me a few years, I could produce a work that long too... Then I could tell you it only took 50 days to do."

    Why don't you give it a try and then report back here when you have completed the task?

  • HeresAThought Queen Creek, AZ
    May 1, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    As my great great great grandfather stated in a letter to an editor critical of "rampant Mormonism in the south",

    "If Mormonism be of man, it will surely come to naught soon enough. If it is of God, do you really want to be found fighting against it?"

    -Caleb William Harvey

  • Well.ok Lehi, UT
    May 1, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    The mention of horses (multiple times from the beginning to the end of the book) provides a serious challenge to the book's authenticity. Horses aren't just any animal, they transform human civilizations. Lehi and his family would have been well aware of their immense benefits and would have certainly taken advantage of them.

    Yet despite this we have zero evidence of them existing anywhere in the Americas during the time of the BoM. It's not just the lack of bones or the fact that the aboriginal people had never seen horses when the Spanish arrived in the New World. We have discovered 30,000 year old cave paintings of horses in France. We have found countless paintings, pottery and figurines, and writings of horses throughout Eurasia and parts of Africa that date back thousands of years, yet not one of these have been found in the Americas.

    The horse is just the beginning. As previously mentioned, steel, swine, cattle, chariots (no wheels existed at the time in the Americas), etc., are all anachronisms and only compound the problem.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Wait, why would someone in the 2nd century AD having that name prove it isn't Latin in origin? At that timeframe there was connection between Latin speaking regions and the Hebrew nation. What's to stop a Hebrew from just giving a child a Latin name? While it's interesting, and I'm not saying it definitely isn't a Hebrew name that'd be around in 6th century BC, I just think the matter would still be inconclusive.

  • RSLfanalways West Valley, UT
    May 1, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    If Horses and Steel disproves the BOM I am guessing that a Man that walks on water and feeds multitudes with a small amount of bread and fish must disprove the Bible. If your an Atheist it wont be hard to find faults in the Bible and the BOM. If you believe in the Bible and not the BOM because of the Horse and steel thing then you really need to read the Bible.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    May 1, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    I am not LDS but I always find these types of articles fascinating. I have also read all the comments. I liked the response of "Mom of 8" best perhaps because it was actually a "defense of the faith."

  • true huddersfield, england
    May 1, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    If you deny the Book of Mormon you also deny the Doctrine and Covenants which testifies of the Book of Mormon. The Lord gave a challenge to those who personally knew the Prophet Joseph Smith by which they could gain a testimony for themselves that the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were true and therefore the Book of Mormon. That challenge and test holds true to this day:

    D&C 67:4-9: “And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are before you. Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. and his language you have known; and his imperfections you have known; and have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know. Now seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you; or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true..

    Try writing D&C 76 or 88 for example. You wont come near!

  • Well.ok Lehi, UT
    May 1, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    @Logicguy

    There are many things that I or anyone else on this board could not do, but that doesn't mean others can't.

    Can you create and sing a top 40 hit? Can you direct a blockbuster movie? Can you paint a masterpiece worthy of acceptance to MoMA? Can you write a #1 NY Times bestseller? If not, should we assume that no one else could without direct inspiration/revelation from God?

  • RSLfanalways West Valley, UT
    May 1, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    Dang you science. First you want to disprove anything religious. And then say that Pluto is not a planet. That was my favorite planet and now science took that away from me.

  • true huddersfield, england
    May 1, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    Structural studies have identified an artistic literary form, chiasmus, that appears in rich diversity in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Little known in 1829, this literary form creates inverted parallelism such as is found in this biblical passage in Leviticus 24:17—21 :
    He that killeth any man . . .
    He that killeth a beast . . .
    If a man cause a blemish . . .
    Breach for breach,
    Eye for eye
    Tooth for tooth.
    As he hath caused a blemish . . .
    He that killeth a beast . . .
    He that killeth a man. . . .

    And from the Book of Mormon, in Alma 41:13—14
    Good for that which is good
    Righteous for that which is righteous
    Just for that which is just
    Merciful for that which is merciful
    Therefore, my son
    See that you are merciful
    Deal justly
    Judge righteously
    And do good continually.

    hiasmus was prevalent in the biblical period around the early seventh century B.C., the time of the Book of Mormon prophets Lehi and Nephi

    The especially precise and beautiful crafting of several Book of Mormon texts further supports the idea that their authors deliberately and painstakingly followed ancient literary conventions, which is inconsistent with seeing the New England born Joseph Smith as the author of these passages.

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    May 1, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    @Craig Clark

    I genuinely don't understand how that is a "weak and silly argument", even trying to see this from your perspective. Dr. Peterson is stating that 'adieu' was common parlance of the day, effectively making it on par with an English word. I find this to be a common sense rebuttal to the accusation that a French word shouldn't be found in the BOM.

    How is that a "weak and silly argument"? (Seriously, I'd like to better understand your perspective.)

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    May 1, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    The real value of any book is the value it has to the individual. If the BofM makes a person more charitable and loving then maybe it is a good book. I think it's a waste of time trying to prove or disprove it but i do find speculating on the civilizations portrayed in the BofM fascinating. One thing for sure, the Americas were radically changed between 1492 when Columbus first visited and 1620 when the Pilgrims arrived.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    The fact that a world-wide missionary force of over 80,000 consisting mostly of young men and women (millenials) are actively volunteering 2 years of their lives to testify to the world that a glorified resurrected Christ was manifest to them by a member of the Godhead while reading the Book of Mormon should give you pause as evidence enough to take the Moroni challenge.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    Weber State Graduate:

    "There is simply no reputable evidence or peer reviewed data outside the Mormon apologetic community to support BoM claims...that's why its authenticity must remain a matter of faith."

    The Book of Mormons claims Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, both LDS and non-LDS scholars are having a tough time finding good DNA samples of Jesus Christ to verify this claim. When both sets of scholars went to the tomb Jesus was buried in, Jesus's body was gone for some mysterious reason.

    On the bright side, the DNA collection efforts were simply postponed since numerous witnesses indicate that Jesus Christ is coming back a second time. Scholars and others are patiently waiting for his return.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 1, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    If people who write many lines of arguments to deny the authenticity of the Book of Mormon would only read and pray about with real intent to know whether it is true or not, they could know. This witness of truth is not a man-made or psychological manifestation but a personal experience.

    For if we could know whether the Book of Mormon was true or not by any man-made supposition, then why does it attract so much attention? Many books in the history of the world much more popular than the Book of Mormon have received far less criticism.

    Why do so many non-believers and antagonists of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints come to a web site whose content is largely authored by Church members? Why do so many try to convince us that we are wrong and they are right?

    There are many movements in the world far bigger than this, so why do so many attack? Quite simply, because they will not prove for themselves what is truth. I invite all who disbelieve to read the Book of Mormon for themselves.

  • Uncle Rico Coug AMERICAN FORK, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    @girl.in.slc

    Oh, and of course EVERYTHING you read online is true isn't it?

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    There is plenty of evidence that Joseph Smith Copied much of the BoM from other sources. Examples:
    Lehi's dream was an embellishment of a dream his father had prior to the BoM being written. Many passages found in the BoM appear to be plagiarized from educational text written in old english style and written prior to the writing of the BoM.
    Versus that appear to be direct copy's from the King James Version of the Bible were later corrected in the JST translation of the Bible. But still are apparently allowed to remain in error within the BoM (nevermind the question as to why these versus are direct copies of the King James Version of the Bible which itself is only a translation from older text). Names of places and geographical locations in the BoM are similar to the same names of places in and around the area in which Joseph Smith lived. In most cases they even geographically match as they are described in the BoM.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    From my life experience. In my youth I was given a number of anti-Mormon tracts. They were pretty shattering to me as a young LDS. I thought I had a testimony of the BoM, but after reading some of this material I was uncertain what to think.
    In response I put the material aside and went back to studying the BoM to see how I felt about it.

    My answers came from 2 directions. 1. I could feel the truthfulness of the BoM every time I read it. Even at the young age of 17-19 I could not deny that. 2. Within a couple of months of reading the anti material, I started running across additional material that completely addressed each of the points brought up.

    Since 1840 the same pattern has occurred in many other arguments against the BoM. 1. Individuals have read and lived by its principles and found them to be true. 2. An apparent discrepancy will be brought up. Then, as time passes, what at first seemed to disprove, now supports its truth.

    Personally, I sit back and wait for each of the other "proofs" against the BoM to be knocked down, as so many have been before.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    May 1, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    true,

    "Structural studies have identified an artistic literary form, chiasmus, that appears in rich diversity in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Little known in 1829, this literary form creates inverted parallelism...."
    ______________________________

    That chiasmus was "little known in 1829" is simply not true although I’ve been hearing that argument made with increasing frequency, specifically from Book of Mormon apologists who are out to prove the Book of Mormon’s authenticity as an ancient work.

    Chiasmus is a classical element of oratory and literature found in writings of the Hellenist world, the Bible, Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, Shakespeare, and into the modern world. That its stylistic influence is present in the Book of Mormon is no more remarkable than it is for any literary pieces showing the influence of Western literary traditions.

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 1, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    Craig Clark said, "I find it highly unlikely that the common French salutation 'adieu' would have been one that Joseph Smith never heard of."

    So do I. So, probably, does Daniel Peterson. But since his article never says that Joseph Smith had never heard of the common French salutation "adieu"--since, in fact, his article says quite the opposite, that it was a common English word in Joseph's day--it's really quite hard to see how Craig Clark's point has any relevance at all here.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    May 1, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon because I read it, prayed about it, and received a spiritual witness of its truth. As a person with an advanced academic degree, I know that anything can be debated to death, and any intellectual examination of spiritual matters can sow seeds of doubt. No religion is provable, so atheists conclude that no religion is true, presuming that the human intellect is capable of taking in all relevant data and coming to a valid conclusion. There is a vast difference between logical and valid. I know a brilliant attorney who can argue convincingly against anything I posit, but that doesn't make him right. I know first-hand that reading anti-Mormon material invites the wrong spirit to be present in one's ponderings. If you thrive on doubt and intellectual superiority and shun the idea of personal revelation, you may not -- with due respect -- understand what I am saying.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    Horses, steel weapons, DNA have nothing to do with my belief in the Book of Mormon. I wonder how many LDS critics are Bible believers. Turning water into wine, raising the dead, parting the Red Sea, Noah and Ark would never stand up to scientific inquiry. If God can part the Red Sea then he can lead ancient people to the Americas.

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    How can an uneducated farm boy produce an exact match to the name, place and purpose of a previously-unidentified ancient area in the southwestern Arabian peninsula? I refer to Nahom, an ancient place of burials dating to before Lehi's time. In fact within the last few years, three ancient carved stone altars inscribed with the name "Nahom" have been found in that location as described in the Book of Mormon.

    All in all, we don't know everything, but until we do, we need to have a little Faith. The Book of Mormon is true.

  • returnhuman taylorsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    One think that you all need to remember is that Joseph Smith translated the book by placing his head in a hat and words in the English language would appear thanks to his "seer stone". If it did happen those are the exact spellings and names/words wanted by God. According to the church now, if Joseph wanted to he could have spelled out the book of mormon letter by letter to his scribe at the time. I dont blame him, writing a book that long with my head in a hat could get nauseating.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    Craig Clark:

    Chiasmus is particularly impressive when a young, uneducated farm boy has no knowledge of it and it is present in a book he says he translated. I am surprised you downplay this.

    Are you also aware of translated if/and clauses (as opposed to if/then) in the original Book of Mormon translation manuscript? More strong evidence of a translation of an ancient record and language. Joseph Smith never would have known about this.

  • returnhuman taylorsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    What it comes down to is Joseph Smith had his head in his hat. The words in english appeared to him thanks to his peep stones. He could have spelled the whole Book of Mormon word for word to his scribe. I dont blame him, your head in a hat that long must be nauseating.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    May 1, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    @ Weber state graduate

    "With all due respect, I believe the church would be much better served if stopped supporting the excess of logical fallacies perpetuated by apologists trying to defend BoM authenticity and instead focus on the book's overall message."

    I haven't heard much if anything about the Church supporting logical fallacies? So what you are refering too? Also are you saying that the church should tell you exactly what to believe and to not have an imagination of how things might have been?

    People make "Educated Guesses" all the time of how things are, were, or might be. Just watch the news! You can hear all sorts of random stuff spewed out one day and the next day it is something different.

    I don't hear GA's quoting any such things in conference.

  • returnhuman taylorsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    Chiasms in the Book of Mormon showing it is from God? Then so are some nursery rhymes. Hickory Dickory Dock. Old king Cole. You guys need to stick with the pray about it to feel good. I just can't wait to see the church finally speak about the Book of Abraham in their gospel topic essays they have been releasing.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    May 1, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    The greatest and final proof of the authenticity and the divinity of the Book of Mormon will be when the Choice Seer, the future full-blooded American Indian Moses, walks off the pages of 2 Nephi chapter 3 (and many other places in the KJV Bible), and onto the scene of this choice land of America. This has always been the firm faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, Pennsylvania), the only true succession of the restored gospel.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    May 1, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations,

    "Chiasmus is particularly impressive when a young, uneducated farm boy has no knowledge of it...."
    ______________________________

    Everyone was familiar with it whether they consciously realized it or not. Chiasmus was imbedded in the poetry, prose, hymns, and familiar rhetoric such as the following two examples from the American Revolution.

    No taxation without representation!

    Give me liberty or give me death!

    It doesn’t require a post-modern intellectualization of chiasmus to appreciate the rhythm and pace of words and the larger ideas behind them. To identify chiasmus in Book of Mormon passages and then seize upon it as evidence of ancient writing is making a big deal out of a whole lot of nothing.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    Sharona,

    When someone from Utah is out of state and says "I'm from 'Salt Lake,'" do they mean the city limits, the county, or the region? Someone from Draper, Herriman, Magna, West Valley, Rose Park, are all from "Salt Lake."

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    May 1, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    Also, it should be noted that the clock quote from Shakespeare is from scene 1 (not scene 2).

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    May 1, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    @ Church member

    "That is why it is so sad that children are indoctrinated into their parents religion before they know how to think for themselves."

    It is sad that they are pointed in the right direction? You really think that just because children are taught at Church that all the sudden they have lost their agency?

    What is sadder a parent that doesn't teach their children anything and lets them fend for themselves or the path that lds parents teach their children?

    I wonder what is the percentage of population that is addicted to drugs, smoking, drinking, etc.

    It is so horrible that parents teach their children to be a good person before they can think and decide if they want to be a good person?

    I think we can see exactly what happens when parents teach their children nothing take a look at society as a whole vs. those that "indoctrinate" their children.

  • Rockyrd Gilbert, AZ
    May 1, 2014 2:14 p.m.

    To "Blue:"
    Objectivity is a myth. There is no such thing. There is intellectual rigor, but most scientists who research are looking for a desired result which will reinforce their scientific beliefs. Yes, there are "ah ha" moments in every endeavor, especially science, but alas, we are human and none of us is without anticipation of a desired outcome. IF a scientist suddenly found proof that the theory of evolution was false (I don't believe that will ever happen), would that scientist publish the result? Doubtful. No one wants to be run out of town on a rail.

  • Makimb2 Slc, UT
    May 1, 2014 2:17 p.m.

    I am curious about the book of mormon from 1830 that had text changes in parts of the book that were later changed in the 60's. What are the reason for the changes for & against? As far as steel & horses not being in the americas at that time so the BOM is false, seems pretty weak.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 1, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    Moontan says:

    The god of Abraham was exactly like the others. He was angered by his people, he sought revenge for children laughing at his mouthpiece, he was just another ancient god, the only difference is he is one that has not yet been abandoned.

    @Gene Poole;

    Question for you. How many testimonies have you given since 1964 that the BOM was true and you hadn't even read it completely? How can you possibly "testify" to something if you haven't read it?

    In a court of law, that would be considered perjury.

    @RSLfanalways;

    All we really have are the stories about walking on water, raising the dead, etc. They could just as easily have been made up to give credence to the early Christian's arguments as they could be today. (BTW; I miss Pluto too).

    @true;

    I deny the D&C as well. Just more work of JS.

    @1.96 Standard Deviations;

    "Patiently waiting...", Ok, that really made me laugh. Good one!

    @EternalPerspective;

    (RM here). Have read it. Multiple times. In 2 languages. Still think it's fake.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    May 1, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    The evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is overwhelming. Many of the names and places have both Hebrew and Egyptian roots. Writing forms such as the Chiasum, virtually unknown in America at the time of Joseph Smith appear in amazing detail and complexity in the Book of Mormon. Students of ancient languages have given up trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is not of ancient Hebrew and Egyptian origin. They also don't believe it to be the word of God. They don't know what to think about it.

    Read Hugh Nibley's "Since Cummorah" lays out the case very well.

    Matters of faith cannot and should not be provable with scientific approach. Each person is left to discover the truth for themselves. Those who pay the price to know the truth shall obtain it.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    May 1, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    Ranch posted:

    =I'd be more concerned about steel swords and horses than a couple of words, Dr.
    =Peterson.
    =
    =In any case, the BOM is still a work of fiction.

    It's possible that the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction; I won't deny that. But I maintain that there are good reasons to believe in God, and therefore the relevant question is whether God thinks the Book of Mormon is a book of fiction. Ranch, I'd suggest you ask God if it is.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    to Uncle Rico Coug

    "Oh, and of course EVERYTHING you read online is true isn't it?"

    If isn't then why waste time & bandwidth putting it there?

  • Cletus from Coalville Coalville, UT
    May 1, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    @AerilusMaximus

    "You can hear all sorts of random stuff spewed out one day and the next day it is something different."

    Well put – the precise modus operandi of an apologist verses a scholar.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 1, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    @The Rock – “The evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is overwhelming.”

    and…

    “Matters of faith cannot and should not be provable with scientific approach.”


    Do you not see the contradiction here?

    @Weber State Graduate

    Weber State must be one heck of a school. Keep up the (always) good comments…

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 1, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    Ranch:

    "I deny the D&C as well. Just more work of JS."

    Sections 136 & 138 were not revelations given through Joseph Smith, just to be technical. :) The prophets Brigham Young and Joseph F. Smith received revelations for those D&C sections. You deny these prophets too?

    "Have read it. Multiple times. In 2 languages. Still think it's fake."

    A fake? Hyrum Smith quoted from it for comfort before his and Joseph Smith's impending death. The Book of Mormon witnesses went all the way to their death beds testifying of its truthfulness, and the witnesses even went to great lengths to correct others who claimed they had denied their testimonies of the Book of Mormon's truthfulness. Even of those witnesses who disaffected from the church for a time never denied their testimony. Incredible! You think that many reasonable people would act that way from a fake book? No way.

  • dpal Provo, UT
    May 1, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    Ranch, explain how an "uneducated" farm boy back in 1830 would publish a book using the "female" name of Alma to refer to a male character when it wouldn't be discovered until 1960 that it was indeed a Semitic male name. How did the 19th century "writers" of the Book of Mormon know that it was indeed a male name. Just lucky? But the truth of the Book of Mormon doesn't lie in archeological findings. If the Book of Mormon was revealed to ancient prophets as purported by Joseph Smith, then the only way to know it's true is through individual revelation. There are millions who claim they have received that revelation. Those who have not yet studied and prayed about it, cannot claim that it is fiction. The absence of individual revelation does not prove something to be false just as the lack of communication with God does not prove the nonexistence of God.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 1, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    I find it ironic that so many who claim to be "scientists" have decided that we know everything about the past and that there is nothing more to be uncovered.

    The evidence for the Book of Mormon isn't perfect, but there's enough of it to make a case. My belief however is faith-based and I like what the book does to augment my Christian belief in the Bible.

  • dpal Provo, UT
    May 1, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    Ref: girl.in.slc
    "Anyone who still believes in the Book of Mormon simply hasn't done their research. With modern internet search engines, it's clear it was a work of fiction."

    Believing in something of a religious nature has nothing to do with research. There is all kinds of research out there both for and against every issue. People don't believe in a religion or a religious viewpoint because of research. It's based on faith and personal revelation.

  • Gunn4r Saint George, UT
    May 1, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    There are MOUNTAINS of evidence against the BoM. And to those saying "well this is a matter of faith! If it makes me feel good, it must be from God!" please consider this...

    Mormons have to re-define faith in order to believe; traditionally, faith is an instrument to bridge that gap between where science, history and logic end, and what you hope to be true. Mormonism re-defines faith as embracing what you hope to be true in spite of science, fact and history.

  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    May 1, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    dpal

    I love how people keep using the 'uneducated' argument for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Never mind the fact that his father was a school teacher. It is true that his formal education might not have been much, but he was hardly uneducated. Read some of his own journal writings, and you will see he was educated enough to formulate clear sentences, although his punctuation was a bit rough. Speaking of punctuation... isn't it odd that most of the errors in the Book of Mormon were... punctuation errors?

  • TheRealU HERRIMAN, UT
    May 1, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    @dpal

    I would like to add some light to the alleged discovery of the name Alma appearing on the scrolls.

    Yigael Yadin spelled the name this way in a publication in 1962, the OFFICIAL scientific translation of the Nahal Hever papyyri (published in 2002) translates the name as Allima - which is of Aramaic origin, and no relation to the name Alma.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    May 1, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    Shakespeare's anachronism may not actually be the best example to use by the distinguished Dr. Petersen. There were in Caesar's time, several means for recording and determining time, during any hour of the day or night. The use of the word, "clock" may not be exactly correct, but again, it is the interpretation in one's own native language, for whatever the device, that was used to determine the time in Caesar's day...or night, as the case may be!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    @1.96 standard deviations
    "Chiasmus is particularly impressive when a young, uneducated farm boy has no knowledge of it and it is present in a book he says he translated. I am surprised you downplay this. "

    He may not have been well educated but we know for sure he read the Bible a lot and if the Bible is the source of examples of chiasmus, then he doesn't even need to know what it's formally called to be able to replicate it when he pretty much had a textbook on it next to him. Of course this doesn't say anything about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon one way or the other.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    May 1, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    For DocHolliday:

    Joseph Smith's wife, Emma, testified in an interview late in her life that "Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon."

    And the punctuation in the Book of Mormon was the work of John H. Gilbert, the (non-Mormon) typesetter in E. B. Grandin's Palmyra printing shop.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 1, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    @Tyler D (and a few others here),

    Don't be so presumptuous as to say that those of us who have faith "switch off" our brains when reading religious texts. There ARE people who believe who have long academic resumes and work in scientific or technological careers. I don't care if people don't believe what I believe, but let's leave the intellectual insults behind and stop pretending that we must be stupid to believe what we do.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    May 1, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    The world was flat, at one time. The sun revolved around the earth, at one time. Atheists don't believe in the bible. Skeptics and antagonists don't believe in the Book of Mormon. I don't believe in the arguments being "waged" here. I know what I believe after careful study and prayer. Nothing can change what I know to be true. Nothing.

  • Here Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2014 5:15 p.m.

    @ Church member

    “We shouldn't start off on our search for truth with the question already answered.”

    By the same token, we should not start out a spiritual quest for truth with doubt and criticism, or merely as a scientific research project. There is a process for revelation (see Alma 32) just as sure as there is for scientific investigation. Both are built on faith. There is evidence of things not seen (see Hebrews 11:1) that is as real spiritually as is empirical evidence is to the eye. I have felt and confirmed such evidence in my heart and mind.

    “There are too many people like Dr. Peterson who start off with the answer (that the church is true) and then try to find everything that they can to convince themselves that they are right.”

    I have never been much of an apologist, but I find their arguments to be intriguing and helpful when those bent on destroying the faith of others try to “disprove” the Book of Mormon through purely empirical evidence. These arguments may bolster my faith in a world ever more hostile to truth.

  • Here Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2014 5:21 p.m.

    @ Church member

    “Instead, what we should do is look at ALL the evidence on the matter and then make a decision on whether or not the Book or Mormon is literal truth.”

    Again, some seem to want to turn the examination of the truth of the Book of Mormon into scientific research. One will not be successful in proving the Book of Mormon false (or true) that way. First and foremost, it is a spiritual book and a spiritual quest. Use the spiritual rules of the road to find out for yourself. (see Moroni 10:3-5 and again, Alma 32).

    “That is why it is so sad that children are indoctrinated into their parents religion before they know how to think for themselves.”

    I suggest, as one who WAS taught truth as a child, that I have come to know it for myself and that my parents did me a great service in passing on solid and foundational doctrines and principles of happiness (see 3 Nephi 14:24-25). I find myself at no disadvantage but rather grateful for their efforts.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 1, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    @eastcoastcoug – “but let's leave the intellectual insults behind…”

    My apologies… it was not my intent to insult.

    Here’s what I was trying to get at – if you read other sacred books from other traditions you’ll typically find similar awe inspiring stories of miracles, creation narratives, spiritual experiences, and heart wrenching (and warming) ethical dilemmas.

    And yet these books typically do not cause most believers in other traditions to convert. Why is that?

    My guess is it has something to do with our own level of incredulity with respect to these other stories that we do not have when reading our own stories and wanted to suggest reading your own stories with a similar frame of mind.

    Better… or is it still insulting?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 1, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    The uphill battle that Peterson and all other Book of Mormon defenders have to face is that the presence is of just one clear anachronism is a severe challenge to the historical integrity of the Book of Mormon. It's just a simple fact. There are of course many problems with the logic used by Peterson:

    1) Shakespeare is known a writer of fiction. He's allowed to make historical inaccuracies because the purpose of his works are not to provide a written literal and spiritual history of a civilization whose existence is in question, and upon whose existence a large Corporate religions validity hangs upon.

    2) As per the article, the single Alma as a male reference sited occurs in a time period removed by nearly 700 years from when the Book of Mormon peoples language would have broken off from its middle eastern origins.

    3) Yes, the french reference at the close of Jacob does not mitigate possible Hebrew origins, it's just out of place and funny. Albeit not the strongest criticism against the Book of Mormon, just an obnoxious stylization.

  • Chase T. Orem, UT
    May 1, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    Dear author,

    Your argument isn't bolstered with an equally dubious document (namely the King James Bible).

    Thank you.

    --Chase

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2014 6:28 p.m.

    "There ARE people who believe who have long academic resumes and work in scientific or technological careers."

    Of course there are...what's wrong with having faith? Most, however, understand that matters of faith should remain just that...matters of faith.

    Problems arise when such "believers" try to force faith into the realm of fact while at the same time discarding their training involving the appropriate techniques for investigating phenomena, examining evidence, establishing fact, or gaining new knowledge.

    I don't see "believing" men and women of science abandoning these tools for gaining knowledge and replacing them with the tools of the "spirit" as a superior method for confirming truth in their careers.

    Why, then, should the opposite be any more valid?

    @Tyler D

    You are too kind...I'm honest enough to admit that I know drastically less than most, but bold enough to challenge those who claim they know more than others after abandoning empirical and measurable principles of reasoning in favor of incorrect arguments of logic or supernatural confirmations of truth.

  • CDM1525 West Point, UT
    May 1, 2014 6:34 p.m.

    Since there is no evidence of Unicorns can we just have faith that unicorns existed?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 7:03 p.m.

    kvnsmnsn says:

    "...I'd suggest you ask God if it is."

    Been there, done that. Didn't get the answer you expect is the only answer.

    1.96 says:

    "You deny these prophets too?"

    Yep.

    "You think that many reasonable people would act that way from a fake book?"

    Again, yep; if their livelihoods depended on it.

    @dpal;

    See above comment to kvnsmnsn.

    @portlander;

    "Nothing can change what you BELIEVE to be true." Please be honest (like Gene Poole said earlier, he hadn't even read the BOM entirely; probably like tens-of-thousands of Mormons).

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    May 1, 2014 7:31 p.m.

    @ Ranch

    What is your definition of know? Do we have to physically hold the Gold Plates before we can say that we "know" that the book of Mormon is true?

    Do we have to see God before we can say that we "know" God is real?

    Do I need to wait to have a perfect knowledge before I can say I "know" something?

    If you are going by that logic then only perfect people really truly "know" anything.

    @MormonCowboy

    I don't recall the leaders saying anything about defending the Book of Mormon. All I remember is sharing the book of Mormon with others. If they choose to reject it that is their own problem.

    I can defend it if needs be but to me all we are technically required to do is open our mouths.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 1, 2014 7:47 p.m.

    @greatbam22;

    To answer your questions, yes. What is your definition of faith? What is the point of having faith if you "know"? But you don't "know", you "believe" - which is perfectly fine; why not be honest about your belief?

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    May 1, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    @ RanchHand

    Faith are the steps on the road that leads to knowing. We learn line upon line. I think each person has a different amounts of knowledge based upon their diligence and I don't think you can simply judge someone and call it dishonesty who bear their testimony and say they don't know this or that. Who are you to say that they don't know what they are bearing their testimony about?

    Just because you obviously don't "know" something doesn't mean someone else doesn't know that.

    2 Nephi 28 : For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon, line precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have"

  • ShadowSageReborn Reno, NV
    May 1, 2014 9:42 p.m.

    @hymn to the silent
    Actually, if they could actually disprove the scientific Problems with the book of Mormon I would believe it. I have no problem using faith in the absence of fact. However, when you begin to use it in the face of fact, then you are intellectually dishonest. I seek truth and cannot abide that. The same goes for the church-I would join in a heartbeat if they could account for the problems within the church and prove that its not just a bad con job-which the facts suggest.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to meet a Mormon with any hope of doing that, because you all have already decided the end result of all Facts is that the church is true, and twist and shoehorn everything to fit. I give you credit for the amazing mental gymnastics-but they are hardly in line with the idea of the pain and simple truth you prophet nephi claimed to be such a fan of.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:37 p.m.

    If there are readers out there who are curious about the Book of Mormon, let me say this: don't be dissuaded by the accusations made against it. Many come from people who are not at all familiar with the book, and are hardly more than unfounded assertions meant to create an illusion of scholarship or knowledge of the book. Others come from the disaffected, those who seek to rationalize their failure to abide its precepts by claiming to not believe them. whereas a better course would be to seek to be healed by the Savior.

    Don't believe the book is true because I believe it is. Check it out for yourself.

    My opinion of the book, having studied it for years and having read it dozens of times, is that it is the word of God. It changed my life dramatically and continues to do so. It is coherent and logical, and, even better than that, contains the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. Because God Himself ordained that it come forth in our day, He stands behind it. Knock and it will be opened unto you. Seek and ye shall find.

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    May 2, 2014 12:04 a.m.

    I want to thank the Deseret News for accepting a larger variety of comments and attitudes. I am surprised but happy. It enhances the credibility of the paper to acknowledge the existence of various points of view. Thank you so much.

  • Stephen. Minneapolis, MN
    May 2, 2014 12:21 a.m.

    As was mentioned before, the absence of evidence is not sufficient for a conclusion. If there isn't evidence for an animal, product or word etc. it could be because (1) it didn't exist or (2) because it hasn't been discovered yet. Both options are logically possible. The error comes in ignoring the second option. The bigger problem is not horses but poor logic.

    In order to really appreciate this wonderful book, you must be open to the possibility that God lives and is able to communicate with us. If that's closed, then this book will seem ridiculous. I have had a profoundly positive experience as I have sincerely studied the Book of Mormon. It is through this book that I now know that God lives and loves us all. I am grateful for the privilege to have it.

  • Stephen. Minneapolis, MN
    May 2, 2014 12:27 a.m.

    I've tried to post a helpful link but it won't work for some reason. It says I can't have a "non-wrapping line"
    Anyways, there's a useful article that I read that considers animals in the Book of Mormon. If you do a google search on "mormon interpreter animals in the book of mormon" the first link is the right one. (it's the one by Wade Miller and Matthew Roper) It addresses horses and other animals. This is not church doctrine but some thoughts from people that have tried to better understand these topics.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    May 2, 2014 6:51 a.m.

    @ ShadowSageReborn

    I am not sure what your definition of twist is but I think the more appropriate term would be tweak.

    I think the church may be tweaked here and there but everything in this world has to be tweaked. We live in a terrestrial world nothing in this world is perfect.

    The Church is true.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 2, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    Greatbam22 - This article is part of a series called "Defending the Faith". Welcome to the party.

    Stephen - Actually, your point about "logic" is an abuse of logic. It is an abuse because while you are correct in absolute terms about the whole absence of evidence thing, it ignores the matter of probability in favor of possibility. Yes, it is possible that we just haven't discovered where the Book of Mormon events took place, but given the alleged magnitude of this alleged civilization against what we know about all of the territory where it was supposed to happen, option 1 (the book of mormon isn't true) is the most probable. It is also possible to render a probability as being functionally zero. In other words, absence of evidence is not some sort of 50/50 exchange between these two possibilities...it is in fact "absence of evidence", ie, the book aint supported by real facts...and that's not good for the book!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    There are a million ways to prove of disprove the Book of Mormon or to argue against it. In the end, it is a matter of faith, a spiritual endeavor. Those who try to prove or disprove the book are on the wrong track. This includes faithful apologists as well as vehement critics.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    May 2, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    @ Mormoncowboy

    I misinterpreted your comment. Trying to think logically after a long day was probably not the best idea.

    Some of your Anchronisms or poor wording choice could simply be linguistic errors. Heavenly Father chose Joseph Smith for whatever reason he chose him. If he had chose someone different the words of the Book of Mormon may have been slightly different. Joseph Smith himself said "I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught."

    Then you have to question well the revelations aren't perfect but then you have to consider the context and what the definition of perfect is. Was what Joseph Smith teaching perfect if you compared it to other churches at the time?

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    May 2, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    @ Mormon Cowboy

    To continue the rest of my comment..

    I don't have a clue how to translate Eypgtian to english. Perhaps when Joseph Smith was translating with the seer stones maybe he saw what looked like a horse but was actually a moose. Mormon himself also said he was not a strong writer.

    Could he have poorly chosen some of the words in the Book of Mormon yes that is very possible. I think the main goal at the time was to keep the Book out of the wrong hands.

    @ Esquire

    You are correct but at the same time it is a fun linguistic activity! =D

  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    May 2, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Verdad

    Yeah, sure. It was all the printers fault for all of the punctuation errors. I assume that you will also say that it was their fault for the bigger errors as well? Such as: the switching of the names King Benjamin, and King Mosiah... King Benjamin is mentioned after he was supposedly already dead... then in later editions, after they noticed the discrepancy, it is changed to King Mosiah. I suppose that was also the fault of E.B. Grandin as well?? I am sure it was also his fault that Joseph Smith first said it was the "angel Nephi" that came and spoke to him... and it wasn't changed to Moroni until well after his death. Isn't that interesting?

  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    May 2, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    AerilusMaximus

    Are you aware that Joseph Smith didn't actually translate the plates? By many accounts of those who were there, the plates lay on a table, covered while he looked into a hat with 2 seer stones in it. Joseph would read off the words as they appeared and they wouldn't disappear until they were correct. So the 'maybe it was a moose' argument is invalid, as he didn't actually have to translate anything. If god wanted to tell Joseph 'horse', then that is the word that would have appeared. If he wanted it as 'moose', it would have been moose.

    Furthermore, how do people not see this translation method as a red flag?

    "Hey, go dig up these golden plates that were buried, and risk your life doing so"... "but we won't be using them in translation, they will just be sitting there while you look in a hat"...

    "and when you are done with the plates, even though you didn't use them to begin with, I will take them back so they cannot be examined"

    This is just one of the many things that defies logic.

  • Stephen. Minneapolis, MN
    May 2, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    @Mormoncowboy

    There's clearly a difference between deductive and inductive reasoning as you've pointed out. 1) the error I refer to is using the absence of evidence in a deductive way in writing (ex. because there is no evidence for x, x definitely did not exist.) It is error of ignoring probability as you mentioned and misusing logic. I don't see how I've "abused" logic, is that not an important distinction?
    2) I also don't follow how there is a "possibility" of a "functional probability of 0." I suppose that's possible, but how have you calculated it? Just because that's a possible statistic doesn't mean it's relevant.
    3) Consider electricity. Did it still exist before it was discovered? Perhaps you told someone before its discovery about the idea of electricity and they thought it was ridiculous. In fact, in all of their experience and thousands of people's previous experience, they had never encountered such a thing. I suppose their estimated probability for its existence would be quite low. But that's because it's a small data set, they had beforehand lacked the research to establish the existence of the thing.

  • netzach West Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    "... I'd be more concerned about steel swords and horses ..."

    So, if we discovered, in a pristine archeological site, a team of Book of Mormon horsies, still hitched to a Book of Mormon chariot, a steel sword, a bolt of silk, and a bushel of barley in that cab, all hitched to a sign reading, "Zarahemla, Next 3 Exits" - could we schedule your baptism for this Saturday night?

    Didn't think so.

    If the archeology doesn't mean that much to you, why should it mean that much to us?

  • MoreMan San Diego, CA
    May 2, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    The Church has more than enough $$$ to dig up the Hill Cumorah and find even a shred of evidence of a battle there. If they can find one bit of archeological evidence that is independently verifiable of a Lamanite or Nephite society in the America's that saw Christ and followed his teachings that would go a long way in putting this issue to rest. You can't find what did not exist.

  • Stephen. Minneapolis, MN
    May 2, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    The same could be said about DNA or the heliocentric model. There is so much that we don't know. We'd like to think that in our modern world that we've turned over every stone and seen all there is to see. We haven't, there is so much left to discover. We don't have an entirely clear view about all of the ancient civilizations that have existed. That's why people continue to do research. My point is this: we must not think our current evidence is complete, we have to recognize that our understanding will change and progress as more evidence is found.
    I don't know why you insist on an absence of evidence anyways. People thought the idea of ancient records on metal plates was ridiculous...until others were found in the old world. People thought barley in ancient america was ridiculous...until it was discovered.

  • Celticwolf Syracuse, Utah
    May 2, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    People won't believe the Book of Mormon is real unless you provide them with archaeological evidence. And even then they will tell all of us LDS people that the book is still false. True faith in him is what he want's. Meaning you don't need any physical proof what so ever to have faith in him. He created the planet so that means he has the power to make all the physical evidence to back up the Book of Mormon vanish. True believers don't need that physical proof to believe in him which could be corrupted or misleading if all you are going on is physical proof. After all he did say not to worship symbols if i'm not mistaken.

  • Celticwolf Syracuse, Utah
    May 2, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    GOD made the planet and so he has the power to make everything that could physically back up the Book of Mormon vanish. That would serve his purpose on finding out who the true believers are. Those that don't need the hard physical evidence to back up the Book are the true believers. He did say don't worship symbols. Having to have hard evidence can be taken as you need symbols to believe it's real.

  • LiveNLetLive Bakersfield, CA
    May 2, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    The strongest support of the Book of Mormon is living the principals it teaches. Those principles work, nothing else matters.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    May 2, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    @ DocHoliday

    You should read about all the publication faults that J.R. Tolkien had with the lord of the rings series and his problems occured over 100 years later.

    It is funny how you put it all these things outside the realm of possibility with all the difficulties the church had when it first began.

    "Are you aware that Joseph Smith didn't actually translate the plates? By many accounts of those who were there, the plates lay on a table, covered while he looked into a hat with 2 seer stones in it."

    I had heard some of the description that you are saying from the southpark episode where they cover what you previously described.

    "This is just one of the many things that defies logic."

    Really it doesn't defy logic. You could easily make an argument that the Lord didn't need to have him translate verbatim from the plates because he could just tell him. He would've been the person to tell Mormon what to write in the first place.

    Have you ever had to translate something from an unknown language to english while at the same time being chased around the countryside by a mob?

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    May 2, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    DocHolliday:

    Your questions on textual changes/updates in the Book of Mormon have been answered decades ago, at least. Please refer to the following articles:

    * "Understanding Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon", December 1983 Ensign by George Horton

    * "I Have a Question", March 1987 Ensign by Robert J Matthews

    * "Common Questions about the Book of Mormon", October 2011 Liahona -- Scroll down to the bottom of the article, "I have heard that changes have been made to the Book of Mormon since it was first published. What was changed and why?"

    Do you remember how to access past articles of church magazines on the church's website? I can't post links here.

  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    May 2, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    greatbam22

    Nice try. Your explanation doesn't make sense. If god is powerful enough to just tell Joseph Smith what to write, then why bother making Mormon write it on the plates anyways?? I mean I am sure Mormon had much better things to do then painstakingly inscribe the brass plates when god didn't even need him to do so. Does that make sense to you? God commanded Mormon to write all of that stuff down, so Joseph Smith could dig them up but not use them anyways?? God obviously could have know that a mob would chase Joseph, so he had no need to have Mormon write them down. If what you say is true, there was no need for the plates, because god could just reveal it to Joseph... the plates were obsolete. Furthermore, the plates have no historical value because they were taken up to heaven (conveniently).

    Then, regarding the book of Abraham... This is another problem. Joseph had to get these papyri to translate from them. Not only are his translations wrong, but why would he need those if god was just going to reveal it to him, just like with the golden plates?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 2, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    RE:Pops: Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you(Mt 7:7)

    (Alma 7:10)…who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost(Spirit) and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God.

    ”They tell us that the BoM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The BoM teaches, No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible!”( Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation.

    (Luke 1:35) The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God

    The “Pale” of Christianity believes the birth of Jesus was a unique miracle by the Holy Spirit/Ghost,same Greek word(Pneuma).

    (Luke 1:35,“l know not a man”? Did Mary tell a lie?
    Mary knew the reality of her own virginity. She declared that her pregnancy was the result of the miraculous overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, not from a sex act with a man(even if that man is the immortal God in a human body)

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    @Stephen
    "I've tried to post a helpful link"

    The comment forum rules don't allow links.

    "Both options are logically possible. The error comes in ignoring the second option. "

    Yes, but if one considers the odds of the second option low enough then they can justify rejecting it.

    "My point is this: we must not think our current evidence is complete"

    Sure, but usually the default position to have on things that are lacking in evidence is to be skeptical until sufficiently proven otherwise.

    @Aerilius Maximus
    "Perhaps when Joseph Smith was translating with the seer stones maybe he saw what looked like a horse but was actually a moose. "

    I thought when he was translating it'd show up in English.

    @Celticwolf
    "He created the planet so that means he has the power to make all the physical evidence to back up the Book of Mormon vanish. "

    That's not a very good argument, mostly because it could literally be used for anything ever claimed. Totally did my homework but God removed all physical evidence of it.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 2, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    Wow, when I posted my entry a day ago, there was only about 55 posts. In one day, it was grown to 132. That in itself is inherent of the struggle to both uphold the claim of truth for the Book of Mormon and those that tear it down by many forms of "evidences".

    I ask again as I hinted before, why are so many interested in negating and denying a work that many would not even know about? It amazes me how many people want so badly to convince belivers of the Book of Mormon that is false.

    To those who said they have read it and believe the content is false, did they pray about it? Did they read it with the intent that even if they thought it was completely false, the search for truth would keep conclusions in an objective light?

    Many scientists have been skeptical of the experiments they have undertaken, but how many who needed to know of truth intentionally introduced bias?

    If one is honestly seeking for truth even when much doubt exists, they will be lead to know whether the Book of Mormon is true or not.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    May 2, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Ranch:

    Too bad there is already 131 comments. This one will never get read but for those concerned about steel swords and horses here is my reply: look inside the La Brea Tar Pits near Los Angeles for evidence of horses. Steel? I have heard that crude varieties of steel existed and was used in Jerusalum at the time of the BOM.

  • Poqui Murray, UT
    May 2, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    @TheWraith - There are five references to steel in the Book of Mormon and one story that includes a horse pulling a load. So to say that "The BoM presents an entire culture, a culture that was familiar with horses and steel weapons" is a stretch in and of itself.

    There is evidence of "steel" being in existence in the world during the time frame of the Book of Mormon: "A site on Mt. Adir in northern Israel has yielded an iron pick in association with 12th-century pottery. One would hesitate to remove a sample from the pick for analysis, but it has been possible to test the tip of it for hardness. The readings averaged 38 on the Rockwell “C” scale of hardness. This is a reading characteristic of modern hardened steel [Maddin, Muhly, and Wheeler, “How the Iron Age Began,” p. 127]." So it's plausible that the steel mentioned in the BoM could've existed.

    There are horse skeletons in America that pre-date the BoM. So it's also scientifically plausible that some may have still been around in small pockets during this time frame.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    May 2, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    Maybe Alma's name really was Allima, but for purposes of the English translation it was given as Alma for our convenience, particularly being a name that would appear extensively in the book.

    I wouldn't get too caught up with names of things. Notice how we often use the term buffalo to refer to the American bison? People often apply familiar terms to objects they might not have a popular word for. We often refer to koala bears and panda bears but koalas and pandas are not bears. But then again, sometimes we just borrow the foreign word for something in the absence of another term (for some reason, "lederhosen" comes to mind). I point this out to remind everyone of the imprecision of language.

    "Steel" in the Book of Mormon may not refer to steel as we consider it today, similar to the way "brass" is used in the Bible and Book of Mormon. Likely some form of alloy with copper, but not necessarily the particular mix (copper,zinc) that we know today as brass. Some versions of the Bible use "bronze" in place of the word brass.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    The Book of Mormon testifies that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, that he atoned for our sins, that He is our redeemer. So. What is the real question. Is Christ the literal Son of God? Did He atone for our sins? Is He our redeemer?

    Who would cast doubt on the divinity of Christ, satan or Christ? Who would tell us that there was no atonement, satan or Christ? Who would tell us that redemption is not necessary, satan or Christ? Who would tell us to NOT believe a book that testifies of Christ, satan or Christ?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    May 2, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    It's about faith or facts. The BOM helps those with faith, for others it's fiction. In America, you're protected to the belief of your choosing. Now, that's one great country, my friends.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    May 2, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    More info about steel.

    here is what I found on Wikipedia. Since many here get their "erroneous" information and conclusions from the internet (ie you tubes, etc) maybe they ought to go to better sources. While some do not regard Wikipedia as reliable then I suggest we all go to a library rather than you-tube for our "unbiased" information. You can also get a copy of the Spalding Manuscript if you want to to some serious study.

    I learned in school about the La Brea tar pits (mentioned earlier). No one else had? Many horse skeletons can be had there and it is conveniently located on the North American continent.

    Back to steel: "13th century BC – Invention of steel when iron and charcoal are combined properly" from Wikipedia timeline of materials technology. However, facts are hard to accept when they contradict one's own biases and agendas.

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 2, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    MoreMan suggested the LDS Church should dig up "the Hill Cumorah" to look for evidence of a battle taking place there. One of the many problems with this suggestion is that we don't know where the Hill Cumorah near a battle site is. The hill in northern New York that is commonly referred to as Cumorah is the place where Moroni buried the plates, and where Joseph found them. The Hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon--the site near a large battle--is where Mormon took the plates from. There's nothing in the record indicating those two hills are the same.

  • Well.ok Lehi, UT
    May 2, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    I suggest those erroneously posting about horses and steel educate themselves. It is well known that horses evolved and lived in the Americas, however they died out 8-10,000 years ago - well before BoM times. Scientists have found a number of bones/teeth and none (including those mentioned previously in the La Brea Tar Pits) of them date past this time period. Remember, this isn't a small useless animal, but arguably the most important animal in human civilization. For scientists to have found vast amounts of evidence all over the ancient world of horses and to find nothing in the Americas should cause some pause.

    No evidence of steel has been found in pre-Colombian America. It doesn't matter if it has been found in other areas of the world. To make steel it takes relatively advanced technology to create the high temperatures needed. Steel smelting required large operation that produced slag and other byproducts. Why is there no evidenece of this? Millions of people died in the battles on the Hill Cumorah, why do we not find any evidence of steel (or other metals) from their swords and armor?

  • JohnnyGreen San Jose, CA
    May 2, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    Silly really. Provide me with the address of where the Gold plates are to back up the book of Mormon and while your at it provide me with the address of the building of where the original writings to back up any of the books that make up the bible THEN we can chat about how one is better than the other. Can provide this? That's ok. Don't waste your time telling me that the bible is backed up with experts saying this location meets up where the bible says where said date is not backed up with any original writings. There is not a shred of data that anything the bible says is is true and correct.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    May 2, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    Stephen wrote:

    "In order to really appreciate this wonderful book, you must be open to the possibility that God lives and is able to communicate with us. If that's closed, then this book will seem ridiculous. I have had a profoundly positive experience as I have sincerely studied the Book of Mormon."

    I, too, have sincerely studied the Book of Mormon, with a mind genuinely open to (and exercising yearning faith in) a living god who is able to communicate with us (me). I put "Moroni's Challenge" to the test numerous times during my courtship and 30+ year marriage to a beautiful! faithful! temple-worthy LDS woman.

    Moroni's Challenge failed time and time again.

    I have humbly and sincerely reported my experience ("testimony") to numerous Church members, leaders, GAs, missionaries, etc., and have been criticized, condemned, ostracized, belittled, falsely accused, and otherwise treated horribly by most of them.

    I am an atheist. The negative results of my sincere study of the Book of Mormon are not because I am atheist; rather, it is the other way around. I am atheist because ALL the "spiritual" methods, tests, challenges, attempts, approaches, prayers, fastings, etc. failed to yield the promised "confirmation".

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    May 2, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    Donn bugg

    Consider this:

    "The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)

    That was an apostle of the lord, Orson Pratt, who is saying that hill that Joseph Smith took the plates from is the same hill on which the battle took place. Shouldn't you trust the words of an apostle, they receive revelation from god.

    He isn't the only apostle to say that:

    "The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York ." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith ch. 14)

    "Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York."

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    May 2, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    Don Bugg

    Regarding the hill Cumorah - Are you suggesting that there are 2 hill Cumorah's? So one is where a battle took place, and the other is where Mormon deposited the plates? And they just happened to be named the same? Mormon hid up records in the same place as the battle... So either it took place in New York, or the plates somehow found their way there.

    So... Either Mormon who was with the Nephites.. walked from Mexico (where the supposed other hill cumorah is) to upstate New York to bury these plates (Approximately 2,500 miles as the crow flies) into another hill cumorah. Or... The book of Mormon battle took place in upstate New York at that hill Cumorah... or Mormon deposited them in the Mexico location, and they somehow transported to New York... Or... It never happened. Of all of those, without doubt, the last option (it never happened) is the most likely.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    May 2, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    JohnnyGreen: "There is not a shred of data that anything the bible says is is true and correct."

    Sorry, but exaggerations such as this can't be taken seriously. One doesn't have to be a believer in its theological claims, let alone its inerrancy, to recognize that the Bible connects at thousands of points with genuine ancient history, as confirmed both by dirt archaeology and by ancient documents.

  • brwilliamrkiehn Berea, OH
    May 2, 2014 5:48 p.m.

    The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and the Word of God

  • AZKID Mapleton, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:23 p.m.

    There is evidence of steel / iron implements in the Hopewell culture in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. Lot's of other answers for other troubling questions are there to be found as well. Rod Meldrum has done some interesting work along these lines.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    May 3, 2014 12:07 a.m.

    It's fun reading what the self proclaimed experts are saying here. Can't do anything better that dust off the old playbook for a horse and steel debate.

    From Alaska to Argentina, horse fossils (of many lineages) have been found.

    We also know that metals, called steel or not, were used. And exposed to the elements won't last long.

    Keep trying with the dusty playbook and fact finding. I'm still waiting for your side to find the missing link. Lucy has lost it's luster.

  • sfcretdennis Nice, CA
    May 3, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    Spikey Layton, UT: The problem with reading anti LDS literature is it is full of falls hoods, read it if you with. I can read it and get a good laugh because I see it for what it is. Lies and hatred for what the writers do not understand. There is more literature agent the LDS church then any other church out there and why is that? People just do not understand and some do not with to understand. The truth of God and his ways are perfect, the ways of man are not and we are imperfect beings and we all well make mistake in translations of Gods ways. So if there is any imperfections in any church it is that of man not God.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    May 3, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Well.ok

    "Why is there no evidenece of this? Millions of people died in the battles on the Hill Cumorah, why do we not find any evidence of steel (or other metals) from their swords and armor?"

    I think it is called rust. No one is talking about stainless. Besides, the area was cover with evidence that has been since picked up and dispersed. I think it is call "before the National Parks".

    The Titanic suck 100 years ago and found it without remains of any passengers. Check out the second law of thermodynamics. America (or the sea) is not the dry desert of the Middle East, you know.

    Interesting how us believers see evidence where non-believers don't. Might also explain The (self-proclaimed) Scientist's lack of spiritual experiences. We may not know the explanations until long after we are dead.

  • netzach West Jordan, UT
    May 3, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    @DocHolliday: "... switching of the names King Benjamin, and King Mosiah ..."

    Easily explainable. Mosiah 6 tells us that Benjamin turned over the reins to Benjamin, and liveed three more years. Chapter 7 begins by telling us that Benjamin had "continual peace for the space of three years."

    What we're not told is whether or not it was the same three years - and to definitively state either way is what we call, in the logic business, an argument from silence.

    You've obviously assumed it was not the same three years - and, by inference, that Benjamin had passed and Ammon knew about it. what if it was the same three years, and Ammon left before Benjamin passed? In that case, Ammon might have very well referred to Benjamin when talking to Limhi, not realizing Benjamin was dead.

    The earlier versions of the Book of Mormon would have been true to the text, later versions departing slightly from the text but are more accurate from a historical perspective.

  • netzach West Jordan, UT
    May 3, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    @DocHolliday (continued)

    Have you ever done any translating? The above is an example of an issue that translators face. What do you do, for example, if the word in the source language has no equivalent in the target language? What if you're translating Isaiah 1:18 into a language spoken only on a desert island - where there is no word for snow?

    Choice "A" is to transliterate. Cureloms and cumoms as an example. Choice "B" is to substitute. You could write, "... though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as coconut meat ... ." Less true to the text but more true to the meaning.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 3, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    All of these anachronisms, translation errors, mix ups, grammatical problems, historical inaccuracies, DNA issues, and everything else would be completely fine if we were talking about any other book. But a book that has claimed from day one and continues to claim to be "the most correct of ANY book on earth" (emphasis mine), it's just plain disastrous. Mormons simply can not claim that the BofM is what it purports to be and then on the other hand try to explain away all of these problems as "human errors".

    What it boils down to for skeptics like me is a very basic question. Did your god want me to believe that this book "more correct than" any other book ever printed? If he did then he should have planned ahead and made sure that problem after problem after problem after problem after problem didn't have to be explained away. Otherwise I'm left with not choice but to think of your god as a deceptive, cruel, liar. Either he's lying t me with the evidence he took away or changed or hid; or he's lying to me with his supposed book.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 3, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    RE: Sfcretdennis, “if there is any imperfections in any church it is that of man not God.”

    Defending the faith(in JS),”Alma is an authentically ancient Semitic ‘Masculine’ personal name, just as the Book of Mormon presents it.”?

    `Almah al-maw' Strong's H5959 (`alma ), feminine noun, which occurs 7 verses in the Hebrew of the KJV: Alma. Virgin (4x), maid (2x), damsels (1x)

    RE: Netzach,“Have you ever done any translating?" I suggest a modern Bible translation.

    succor : Alma 7:12,. Mosiah 7:29 …, ( D&C 62:1).

    succor=(G997) Heb 2:18 KJV). "one who aids or “helps",succor 13th century English. JS copied the poor KJV translation. S/B, E.g…

    “… he is able to ‘Help’ (HEB 2:18, NIV,NET, NLT). And

    A Marvelous Work and Wonder. A Modern Translation,=

    “ Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools.” (Is 29:14 L B.))

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    May 3, 2014 6:35 p.m.

    @ The Wraith

    "But a book that has claimed from day one and continues to claim to be "the most correct of ANY book on earth" (emphasis mine), it's just plain disastrous.

    Depends on what definition of correct you are talking about. Everything depends upon context. You decided to leave out the rest of the quote and therefore took that statement out of its' context and put it into your own context.

    The entire emphasis (on entire) quote goes as follows: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

    Does your dictionary contain only one definition of the word correct? It is pretty plain that the definition of correct that Joseph Smith was talking about was in terms of rightness. The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help people make the right decision and help them to follow Christ.

    This book has helped to correct emphasis (on correct) a lot of peoples misconceptions about God.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    May 3, 2014 6:53 p.m.

    sharrona:

    "Alma" is used in the Book of Mormon as a masculine personal name in a Semitic culture. "Almah" in the sense you cite it from Strong's concordance obviously ISN'T masculine and obviously ISN'T a personal name.

    That's why finding "Alma" in an ancient document as a Semitic masculine personal name is so striking.

  • Right is Right Everett, WA
    May 4, 2014 12:40 a.m.

    For those that question the presence of steel Jeremiah 15:12 mentions Steel circa 600 BC.
    Ether (9:19) mentions elephants. Any elephant bones found in America?
    Either the Book of Mormon is true or it is not. I can not make it true because I want it to be and others cannot make it untrue or fiction because they want it to be. The same is true of the Bible, evolution, or the existence of God.
    People used to believe that the world was flat because from their prospective it was. Science is based on observations. Logic is based of the information available. The total knowledge that is available is very limited. We base our beliefs on what we have experienced.

  • Right is Right Everett, WA
    May 4, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    Don't look for a few small details to justify your rejection of what is contained inside. Many of you will not even question what is on the internet as being a fact, but scripture becomes fairy tales. The writings teach us to love our families and our neighbor, to help the poor, that selfishness and pride are harmful and can destroy societies and many other good teachings. Is this fiction also? First tell me what is right in the Book of Mormon. You may find that your issues vaporize.

  • netzach West Jordan, UT
    May 5, 2014 12:48 a.m.

    @ My Sharrona: "... I suggest a modern Bible translation. ..."

    Most are a little too biased for my taste. The exception is the NAB - which is still biased, but Catholic biases tend to run parallel to Mormon biases, especially in the areas of priesthood authority.

    With respect to Isaiah passages, there's been a couple of studies on the Book of Mormon Isaiah verses which differ from the KJV. More often than not, Smith's rendition is equal to or better than the KJV.

    The icing on the cake: In the Pearl of Great Price, Moses (which is just a few chapters from Smith's Inspired Version)) we read about Enoch, and a man sent to ask him questions. The man's name is Mahijah. His questions give Enoch the opportunity to teach about God and explain about a Book of Remembrance.

    Fast forward to the mid-20th century. Among the discoveries at Qumran is a story about Enoch. And a guy named Mahijah, who is sent to ask probing questions, Enoch preached to him and tells him about a Book of Remembrance.

    Same story, recorded by Smith more than a century before the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  • Bill Fitz LAKE BLUFF, IL
    May 5, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    RANCH, You're falling behind. evidence is yours if you will look up Hopewell indians. Swords, and horse bones, both found on this continent along with artifacts with Hebrew writing and to top it all off, an egyptian style temple in southern Illinois. What language was the Book of Mormon translated from? You guessed it Ancient Egyptian. Nobody but the LDS can explain why that temple was here.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 5, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    RE: Verdad Alma =personal name. "almah" (virgin)and "alma" (eternity).

    Two different words. In Aramaic, ALMA can mean both "eternity" and "universe", and Syriac ,'Mara d'Alma".

    RE: Netzach, The first 6 chapters of Genesis JST contains 311 verses, JST creates 127 more verses not supported by the Septuagint and Masoretic texts.

    E.g..Moses 7:8 "a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan. . . ."Moses 7:22 ".for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them."

    (Is 29:14 JST)A man(JS).verse 16 by the power of Christ, verse 17,the three witnesses, But the book (BoM)shall be delivered unto a man. False prophecy, Not supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls or LXX.

    (Heb 9:26 JST)Meridian (12c., ) VS (Heb 9:26 Greek N.T.)consummation(syntelei,4930).

    Modern translations honest scholarship. Bracketed and noted,there are serious doubts as to the;blood authenticity of, Luke 22:43-. E.g.. Not in Papyrus 75 175-225 or found in codices.see Mosiah 3:7. JS was unaware.

  • DixieSmallBizMan Saint George, UT
    May 5, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    The true nature of the Book of Mormon will never be established in a forum such as this. Believers and non-believers alike will continue on their chosen path. That being said, I do want to address "adieu" "steel" and "horses." I studied language translation at university (yes their is such a major, and brutally hard as language majors go.) Ever tried Google translation? Ever laughed at how badly it misses? That is because a computer cannot easily capture connotation and subtext. Which one flower is most associated with romance? To English speakers it is likely the rose, but in any other language it will be quite different.. No two languages share perfect correlation in cultural and historical development, and as such perfect word correlation is impossible. Sometimes translators have to guess! It is up to the translator to make a best faith effort to capture not only word meaning, but also cultural and historical connotations. That again is impossible. The words used are words a reader would understand. It is actually intellectually ignorant to say the Book of Mormon is fiction because of the presence of those words. can any critic identify better words?

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    May 5, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    @ DixieSmallBizMan

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Ether addresses some of this stuff well too:

    Ether 12
    23
    Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing
    Thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing;
    Thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;

    24
    Thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands.
    Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.

    25

    Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them;
    Wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words;
    I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    May 5, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    I shortened some of the verses above and below.

    26

    The Lord spake unto me, saying:

    Fools mock, but they shall mourn;
    My grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

    27

    If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.
    I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;

    If they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    May 5, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    DixieSmallBizMan

    Your point would be valid, had Joseph Smith actually translated using the plates directly. But, he did not. The plates laid covered on a desk while he stuck his face in a hat. The words to write would appear before him, and he would speak them. There were many witnesses to this. That would mean god was putting the words before him, that should eliminate the possibility of these errors. If god meant horse, he would have put the word horse. If he meant something different, surely there is an English word that would have covered it. So yes, while your statement is correct, it doesn't apply here because Joseph Smith never actually used the plates in translation.

  • DixieSmallBizMan Saint George, UT
    May 5, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    Silverprospector,

    I appreciate your consideration of my post. I read yin your response two distinct questions, the process of translation, and whether there was a better word than "horse." Leaving the actual process of translation aside, the same problem exists with word choice. Human languages are ridiculously limited to our own frame of reference. We often import the names of the new things we import. Llama is a great example. What would a 19th century farmer call a llama without knowing its name? Outside our frame of reference, import the word. The IT advances we make in this country are polluting languages around the globe because they lack a frame of reference to describe the new things we create. I deal with this regularly in my business, trying to explain in Spanish technology concepts that didn't exist in that language 15 years ago. As a previous poster discussed, they transliterate the English word into Spanish. God knows all things, but his children on Earth comprehend a staggeringly small amount, and our staggeringly limited language further limits what we understand and communicate.