Containing 5,709 Articles Spanning 365 Topics  
Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery  
Archives From 2005 thru 2014  
PLEASE NOTE: If you have reached this page from an outside source such as an Internet Search or forum referral, please note that this page (the one you just landed on) is an archive containing articles on "BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2". This website, The Mormon Curtain - is a website that blogs the Ex-Mormon world. You can read The Mormon Curtain FAQ to understand the purpose of this website.
⇒  CLICK HERE to visit the main page of The Mormon Curtain.
Total Articles: 25
In 1820 Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Jesus Christ. The two were floating above him in the air and looked identical. Joseph alleges that Jesus Christ told him about buried golden plates wherein the history of Ancient Americans was contained. In due time Joseph retrieved the plates and translated them into the "Book Of Mormon". Mormons consider the Book Of Mormon to be the most correct book on earth.
Why Did Joseph Smith Try Selling The Copyright To The Book Of Mormon?
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Immediately after publishing the Book of Mormon in 1830, Joseph claimed to receive a revelation that Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery were to go to Toronto, Canada to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. They failed to do so, (partly because the revelation sent them to the wrong town) and upon their return, accused Joseph Smith of falsely prophesying.

“Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money.

"Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil." So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.” - David Witmer, AN ADDRESS TO ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, 1887,

Oliver Cowdery related his own account of Joseph Smith's "revelation" to sell the Book of Mormon copyright:

"that some among you will remember which sent Bro. Page and me, so unwisely, to Toronto, with a prediction from the Lord by "Urim and Thummim," that we would there find a man anxious to buy the "First Elder's copyright." I well remember we did not find him, and had to return surprised and disappointed. But so great was my faith, that in going to Toronto, nothing but calmness pervaded my soul, every doubt was banished, and I as much expected that Bro. Page and I would fulfill the revelation as that we should live. And you may believe, without asking me to relate the particulars that it would be no easy task to describe our desolation and grief. Bro. Page and I did not think that god would have deceived us through "Urim and Thummin [sic], " exactly as came the Book of Mormon. - Oliver Cowdery, Defense, p. 229

So why did Joseph Smith try selling the Book of Mormon copyright?

"Joseph Capron wrote that Smith hoped his volume would "relieve the family from all pecuniary embarrassment." There is evidence from Mormon sources to confirm Capron's recollections. Smith himself admitted in his unpublished history that "he sought the plates to obtain riches."

"Hyrum Smith wrote to his grandfather, Asael, that he believed that service to the Lord would bring the family their long-awaited prosperity."

"In October 1829, Joseph wrote excitedly to Oliver Cowdery that Josiah Stowell had a chance to obtain five or six hundred dollars and that he was going to buy copies of the Book of Mormon. Lucy Mack Smith said that when it was finally published in March 1830 the family had to sell copies of the book to buy food."

"The economic situation of the Smith families was so desperate at this time that Joseph tried to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page wrote with bitterness years later that the prophet heard he could sell the copyright of any useful book in Canada and that he then received a revelation that "this would be a good opportunity to get a handsome sum.""

"Page explained that once expenses were met the profits were to be "for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph." Page indicated that they hoped to get $8,000 for the copyright and that they traveled to Canada covertly to prevent Martin Harris from sharing in the dividend. Smith evidently believed that Harris was well enough off while his own family was destitute. When Page, Cowdery, and Knight arrived at Kingston, Ontario, they found no buyer."

"Martin Harris apparently learned of what was done, and Joseph guaranteed him in writing that he would share in any profits made from the subsequent sales of the book. In the spring of 1830 Harris walked the streets of Palmyra, trying to sell as many copies of the new scripture as he could. Shortly after Joseph Smith and Jesse Knight saw him in the road with books in his hand, he told them "the books will not sell for nobody wants them." - Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge, p.20-21

So when selling the Book of Mormon didn't make them money as they had hoped, Smith and company organized a church.
Historical Book Of Mormon Parallel
Monday, Jan 29, 2007, at 08:51 AM
Original Author(s): Markj
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In ancient days, a people came from across the sea and settled in a distant, uncivilized land. In this wilderness, the people struggled to establish themselves; there was much plotting, intrigue, and no little bloodshed. In time, though, the people gained dominion over the land and its savage inhabitants. The people prospered, building great cities, roads, and public works. Learning and trade flourished under their leadership. After several centuries, however, the land and the people faltered as internal political and military turmoil strained and eventually weakened the people and their institutions. The savage peoples around them seized the opportunity and attacked relentlessly. The civilized people were driven back, and bit by bit, they lost their lands and their freedoms.

Much of this history has been lost, but it is said that in the darkest hour, a mighty leader came forth to marshal his people and protect them. In a battle at a famous hill, he and his people stood alone against the combined forces of his foes. Sadly, this great leader could not prevent the inevitable, and the barbaric tide swept the once mighty people away. This last great leader is rumored to have taken the greatest treasure of his people, a testament to the living Christ, and secreted it away so that it might come forth in the latter days. Some people even say that this great leader himself will rise again to call the people to their duties.

The savage tribes that replaced the civilized people upon the face of the land did not care for or understand the great works that they had left behind. After a century or two, there was little evidence to suggest that the civilized nation had ever existed. The buildings and monuments tumbled down; the language was lost, as too were the learning and the trade. Some religious teachers claimed that this fall was the act of God on a people who had turned from him. It is true, that after missionaries returned to the barbarous land and converted its heathen folk, that they changed. They became a united people, and although often still prone to savage civil wars, they eventually filled the world with their beliefs and government.

The history I describe here is not the BOM, of course. It is a very abridged history of the Roman Empire in Britain. There are numerous parallels between the story of the BOM and the history of Rome in England. I find it instructive to look at these similarities, but even more so to look at the divergences. Rome and the Roman culture were in England for nearly 500 years. It was well entrenched and successful, but it was not the native culture, having been imposed from outside. And less than 100 years or so after it collapsed, a very different culture had taken its place. Successive invasions from Europe over the later centuries nearly erased every evidence that the Romans had ever been in England. But the evidence is still there.

Archeology continues to find the most amazing Roman ruins buried about the English countryside and under English cities. DNA tests show the genetic contribution that the Romans and their legions brought to Britain. In short, despite the interval of millennia, and the complete disappearance of Roman life in Britain, a comprehensive picture of Roman England has emerged. While proof for King Arthur and the Holy Grail may never be found, there is no questioning that the Roman culture and way of life flourished in Britain.

The Book of Mormon makes similar historical claims. A great civilization founded far from its homeland that eventually collapses and is lost in the dust of history. But where we find substantial corroborating evidence for the history of Rome in England, there is nothing to support the story of a Middle Eastern culture being established anywhere in the Americas. So when a TBM says to you that the BOM days were a long time ago and that finding evidence from so long ago is hard, tell the TBM about real history and the evidence that is available in support of it.
Book Of Mormon Theme Of Cycle Of Wickedness And Righteousness Nothing New
Monday, Apr 23, 2007, at 09:12 AM
Original Author(s): Tom Donofrio
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government."

"A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury."

"From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years."

"During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
  1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
  2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
  3. from courage to liberty;
  4. from liberty to abundance;
  5. from abundance to complacency;
  6. from complacency to apathy;
  7. from apathy to dependence;
  8. From dependence back into bondage"
In her 1805 History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren sounded the same alarm. Her fear was that the rising generation, quickly growing rich, would forget God and the struggle for freedom. Her history was more a sermon than an objective analysis.

It is no surprise to see the same warning to the fictional Nephites in 1830. They are simply a vehicle in a moral melodrama designed to illustrate principles already illuminated by colonial writers.
God Sanctioned Beheading In The Book Of Mormon
Monday, May 7, 2007, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
From the Book of Mormon:
4:13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. 4:15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. 4:16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. 4:17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause--that I might obtain the records according to his commandments. 4:18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword. 4:19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban andput them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins.
1 Nephi 4:13 through 4:19.
The Complexity Of The Book Of Mormon Is A Clue
Friday, May 25, 2007, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Craigc
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
The LDS Church seeks to establish the following premises:

(1) The Book of Mormon is complex.

(2) The complexity in The Book of Mormon could not have been created by an uneducated and barely literate farm boy.

From the above premises, the Church concludes that Smith must have received supernatural help to create The Book of Mormon.

As a Mormon missionary, I was taught to use this line of argument and did so successfully.

Those who believe the Book of Mormon is not the result of a supernatural process may argue against premise (1) or (2), the conclusion, or some combination of the three.

I believe it is a mistake to argue against premise 1. The Book of Mormon is complex. It contains the following features, which, to me, illustrate its complexity:
  1. Recursive, nested stories within stories
  2. Use of characters who are editors and abridgers of accounts purportedly written by other characters
  3. Dozens of interwoven stories
  4. A fairly elaborate dream sequence and interpretation
  5. Several 19th century-style sermons (King Benjamin’s address)
  6. Interweaving of 19thy century religious and sociopolitical views
  7. Massive plagiarism, with phrases and text and storylines adopted from many sources, including especially the literature of the American revolutionary war, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apocrypha, and more.
  8. Some structural features, such as chiasmus, indicating familiarity with 18th century poetry patterns.
  9. A storyline that weaves into the storyline of the Bible.
  10. An internally consistent geography that seems to map to Palestine, but uses New England place names
LDS Church leaders and apologists are well aware of this complexity, and they use it to defend the Book of Mormon. Said LDS apostle Dalin Oaks:

"Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi's prophecy that in the last days men "shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance" (2 Ne. 28:4). The practitioners of that approach typically focus on a limited number of issues, like geography or 'horses' or angelic delivery or nineteenth century language patterns. They ignore or gloss over the incredible complexity of the Book of Mormon record.

Our side will settle for a draw, but those who deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon cannot settle for a draw. They must try to disprove its historicity--or they seem to feel a necessity to do this--and in this they are unsuccessful because even the secular evidence, viewed in its entirety, is too complex for that."

Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993 , "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon." Talk for FARMS.

People who claim that the Book of Mormon is simple – perhaps to justify their belief that Smith made it up – play into the hands of Oaks. Oaks can win this argument, and he knows that he can. Moreover, as he himself said, all he really needs is a draw.

The Book of Mormon defense team is also confident in their ability to defend premise 2 - that an uneducated farm boy could not have created the complexity of The Book of Mormon. Again, they have good reason to be confident. Prior to 1830, Smith was not well read. Nor was he studious. He was a busy boy, busy chasing buried treasures and skirts. Yes, he was intelligent, creative, charismatic, and capable of spinning a yarn. But where is the evidence that he had the educational background or scholarly temperament to write the Book of Mormon?

The most difficult challenge for the BoM defense team is when their opponent accepts premises 1 and 2, but rejects their conclusion: YES, The Book of Mormon is complex. YES, it is improbable Smith produced it. But NO, Smith did not receive supernatural help to make it. He certainly received help, but his “angels” were no more supernatural than David Copperfield’s assistants.

The Book of Mormon defense team constructs a straw man: they argue that the only plausible alternative to Smith receiving supernatural help is that he wrote the book on his own - an alternative they feel comfortable with because they can attack it on the strengths of premises 1 and 2. So when premises 1 and 2 are accepted but the conclusion is rejected, the Book of Mormon defense team is left without its favorite straw man. They are obliged to confront a vast body of evidence indicating that Smith had help.

Especially difficult is the evidence for the defense team is the Spalding-Rigdon Theory. It is difficult because it is a purely naturalistic explanation of the origins of the Book of Mormon that:
  1. acounts for the complexity of the Book of Mormon as the work of multiple authors requiring a merger of texts and a final editing job performed under time pressure; and
  2. makes Smith's education level irrelevant because he was not responsible for the content of the book.
The complexity of the Book of Mormon is a clue to its convoluted origins, just as the complexity of our bodies is a clue to our own convoluted evolution.
How Did Joseph Smith Sr. Get Into 1 Nephi 8?
Saturday, Jun 2, 2007, at 09:51 AM
Original Author(s): Nancy
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In 1 Nephi 8 we read:
And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
Here is where Joseph Smith's father comes in with his dream, described by his wife Lucy Mack Smith, a couple of years before the BoM was announced. It's found in Lucy's memoir/book

"Joseph Smith the Prophet and his Progenitors," Chapter 14

Boy, after I connected the dots I thought she should titled it "Joseph Smith, the False Prophet, and his Tall Tales"

Here is Joseph Smith Senior's dream or vision: (Reread the verses above again before proceeding to read Smith Senior's dream)
....I saw a very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I can not eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.' Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.
If you read more of Smith's visions (He had 3) you'll also see more of Nephi 8

Also read about his First Vision where he finds a "Treasure Box" and Lucy's description of her son's other great talent:
"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode, their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them".
LDS GA B. H. Roberts, mentioned this and other accounts in his last book where he admitted that the BoM could very well have been produced by the Smith's vs divine origions.

He also refers to Ethan Smith's book "View of the Hebrews" (about Indians really being Israelites ---read excerpts in Robert's book)

It is noteworthy that Oliver Cowdery's father was a member of Ethan Smith's concregation prior to the BoM being published. Both, Oliver's father and Smith Senior were friends.

All I can say is: "Flee Babylon!"

Book Of Mormon Introduction Changed
Saturday, Nov 3, 2007, at 06:32 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
As noted elsewhere (Credits to John Larsen), the Introduction to the Book of Mormon the second paragraph reads:
“The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of the two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
This was included in the first printing runs of the Doubleday Edition.

In the latest printing of the Doubleday Edition of the Book of Mormon, the last sentence was changed to read:
“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”
The interesting thing is this change is not published anywhere. Additionally, the new Doubleday Edition still lists itself as a first edition. I am no publisher, but my understanding was when you made changes, you listed it as a second, third, etc. edition. The second edition also indicates that it is still first printing, which would be impossible since the change was made.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the mounting DNA evidence (of which they vehemently reject)?

Interesting links:

3,913 changes to the BOM from UTLM:

IRR.ORG: Changes to LDS scriptures:

Another - Book of Mormon Editions (1830-1981):

One of the best quotes I have seen from IRR is this:
"Today the Mormon Church gives potential converts a copy of a corrected and grammatically sanitized Book of Mormon but still points to Joseph Smith’s lack of education as evidence for its divine origin. What is implied is that Joseph could not have produced such a book without divine aid. What they do not say is that Joseph’s poor grammar, so evident in the first edition, is now masked by thousands of changes and corrections made by later LDS leaders. As a result, today we do not have the Book of Mormon as it came from the hand of Joseph Smith, but rather a heavily edited version as it has come through the hands of LDS church leaders."
That says it completely. If you go back and look at the original BOM, and you have read the current BOM as much as I have, you will find the original BOM completely foreign.
Another Church Publication Stating That The Book Of Mormon Is About "God's Dealings With Some Of The Ancient Inhabitants Of The Americas"
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 01:34 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
I've pulled together scraps of useful info. from various posts during the past few days. Note: emphasis in bold in the following quotes is mine.

Referring to the gold plates that Joseph Smith claimed to have received from the angel Moroni, on p. 38 of the LDS Church’s latest edition of its publication, “Preach My Gospel”, it states:
"These gold plates contained the writings of prophets giving an account of God's dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas."
The 1981 edition of The Book of Mormon (which is still online) contains the ‘truth’ as you, I, and millions of other people with experience in the LDS Church were taught:
“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (ref.
Odd that in all those years of Sunday School, Primary, Priesthood, Seminary, and Institute, and all those classes in the Missionary Training Centre and mission district and zone meetings, we were never told that The Book of Mormon was only about “some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas”, wouldn’t you say?

Verse 34 of the official history of Joseph Smith in The Pearl of Great Price says:
“He [the angel Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.” (ref.
The source repeatedly mentioned in The Book of Mormon is ancient Israel, not northeast Asia, which is where scientists have determined through genetic testing that the ancestors of American Indians originated (predominantly) 12,000+ years ago (ref.

Some of you may remember that in a Feb. 16/06 press release, the LDS Church stated:
“Nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes migration into the Americas by peoples of Asiatic origin.” (use the Search function on to get the link to the release).
However, Joseph Smith would not have agreed. In the Wentworth Letter, written by Smith in 1842 to John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, Smith indicated:
“In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian Era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.” (ref.
Odd that Joseph Smith did not mention that the gold plates were a record of God’s dealings with “some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas”, or that Lamanite-like (i.e., dark-skinned) people already existed in the Americas when Lehi and his family arrived “about six hundred years before Christ.”

In the Oct./97 General Conference, Pres. Gordon Hinckley told Latter-day Saints:
“We were recently with the Navajo Nation at Window Rock in Arizona. It was the first time that a President of the Church had met with and spoken to them in their capital. It was difficult to hold back the tears as we mingled with these sons and daughters of Father Lehi.” (see the Nov./97 Ensign, which is online).
Despite Hinckley’s belief that the Navajo people (currently about 300,000) descended from a small group of fair-skinned people who came from ancient Jerusalem about 2,600 years ago, genetically, culturally, linguistically, and in terms of their mythology Navajo Indians are linked to Athabascan Indians, whose ancestors came from Mongolia and Tibet (ref.

The process of changing a foundational aspect of the LDS religion is underway, as people familiar with Mormonism and Native American DNA research 'prophesied' years ago. Future materials produced by the LDS Church regarding The Book of Mormon will undoubtedly reflect the new ‘truth’.

To conclude, here’s what President Ezra T. Benson said in General Conference in October 1986 (published in the Nov./86 Ensign) regarding The Book of Mormon:
“…the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.”
It Isn't About The Change, It's About The Dynamics
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 11:29 AM
Original Author(s): Stephen Scott
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
The most significant part of this story to me isn't so much about the change itself--It's about the dynamics that got the church to admit that the change had even occurred. In case you missed it, here's the sequence of events-- at least as I saw it unfold:
  1. John Larsen posts the news of the change on
  2. The post draws a lot of attention and discussion on this BB and spreads to others
  3. John Larsen contacts Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune
  4. The Salt Lake Tribune runs an article on the change as suggested by John Larsen
  5. Church owned KSL Television immediately runs a story about the change as though this whole story was the church's idea and that they were making this public announcement through their media arm KSL. In reality, it was a fast-acting response to douse the fire started by John Larsen!
  6. The story is now being discussed on internet chat sites around the globe!
Remember--the change to the BoM did not just happen this week. Why then did the church suddenly decide to "announce" it through KSL yesterday?

This is the real story to me. That the spark created by one person on this board turned so quickly into a wildfire and forced the church to respond with their water cannons to put out the flames.

This has been one of the most fascinating sequences of events that I have witnessed since becoming disaffected and visiting this board. It's a case study in the power of the internet and the ability of one person to use it to affect change in the world.
Something Interesting About The 1962 Book Of Mormon
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 02:28 AM
Original Author(s): Secular Priest
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In 1980 when Church came out with new set of scriptures all the Church members were told to buy them and stop using their old ones. THIS IS TRUE. I was there. My dad put his old ones away. I went through the library last night and got it out. Lets see what's different.

Copyrighted by Pres. David O. Mackay 1962. Copyright should still be in effect right?

Whole page called "Brief Analysis of BoM." Gives a brief description of 3 types of plates. Talks about Plates of Laban. Talks about 15 divisions of plates. Talks about how parts of plates were put together by Moroni. Concludes with brief description of history of Nephi and how record was sealed by Lord and hide by Moroni. Very scholarly and impressive.

Next 3 pages called "Origin of BoM." It is a copy "word for word" from Church records. Explains Moroni visit to JS. "He said there was a book deposited , written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and from whence they sprang." He goes on and uses the words "ancient inhabitants." At the end of the three pages it says complete record in PoGP page 50-54 and Church History Vol 1 chapters 1 to 6.

Next page is Testimony of 3 witnesses

Followed by BoM as we knew it then.

So LDS tells the truth? How many want to bet these old versions of BoM do not make it into new Church library in SLC?

It's clear to me this change this week was more than a "small change." They must think TBM are stupid, and that makes me mad as hell. My dad's old BoM was clearly a book put together for study and clearly put together with references so people could find out for themselves what the the truth was. Now the Church is saying to me, "Your dad clearly did not know what he was studying or telling you as a kid." This is a slap in the face to me and my mum and dad. The Church should have the balls to say upfront "all those people who learned over the last 180 years or so were taught incorrect things.Their beliefs were faulty. Their scriptures they used were flawed and we are sorry."

Anyone else out there think the same way I do?

Now I know why Church told my dad to get rid of his scriptures.This has been in the works for years. They have know for years the BoM was flawed.

I guess angels lie too! God plates = some new metal I never heard of. Ancient inhabitants = small group of people. Former inhabitants = only part of the people here. Clearly Moroni was not the brightest angel of the group.
Linguistics Problems In Mormonism
Monday, Jan 14, 2008, at 07:04 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-

Introduction - How This Article Came About

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; My interest in language in general and foreign languages in particular began when I was a child. andnbsp; When I was in high school I took every foreign language the school offered (Latin and Spanish), and when I began college I continued that study, with the intention of becoming a language teacher. andnbsp; I continued with Spanish, and also learned French and German, graduating with a major in German and minors in Spanish and English. andnbsp; My master of arts degree was in German, after which I began to teach (Latin, German and English). andnbsp; During that time I also studied Russian. andnbsp; I then had the opportunity to work toward a doctorate in historical and comparative linguistics, and spent four years in graduate school, learning Anglo-Saxon, Old Icelandic, Gothic, Sanskrit, classical Greek, Old and Middle High German, as well as extensively studying comparative and historical linguistic methodology. andnbsp; In the years since I have also studied Mandarin Chinese, Esperanto and Hebrew, and acquired a reading knowledge of Dutch and Italian. andnbsp; During my teaching career of thirty-five years I used comparative linguistic techniques in the classroom. andnbsp; I have found that my knowledge and experience with the phenomena of language give me a somewhat unusual perspective on Mormonism.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This article gathers together my own observations as well as comments of others. andnbsp; Some of these problems are well-known, but some of them I have never seen discussed before. andnbsp; So far as I am aware, nowhere else has Mormonism been critiqued solely from a linguistic point of view, gathering together all of the linguistic problems in one place.

The Importance Of Language in Mormonism

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, was also fascinated with language from the very beginning of his career. andnbsp; He was raised in a culture which believed in folk magic and the powers of language and mystical words. andnbsp; (See D. Michael Quinn's Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (2d ed.) and John L. Brooke'sThe Refiner's Fire). andnbsp; His very first major venture into religious matters was a purported translation of golden plates delivered to him (he said) by an angel and written in a hitherto unknown language ("reformed Egyptian"), which he claimed to be able to translate through the power of God. andnbsp; When he later organized a church, he included among the titles and powers of the head of his church that of "translator":
"[The president of the church is] be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." [emphasis added]. (Doctrine and Covenants [Dandamp;C] 107:92, see also Dandamp;C 21:1)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; As Joseph Smith gained confidence during his career as the head of a growing church, he continued to be fascinated with languages, and he continued to translate. andnbsp; Even though he claimed that he possessed (as head of the church) the divine power to translate other languages (implicitly without actually studying them ), he spent considerable effort to study other languages in the ordinary, non-divine way. andnbsp; He hired tutors in Hebrew, and studied modern languages such as German. andnbsp; He occasionally showed off his supposed knowledge of foreign languages, as in his "Appeal to the Freemen of the State of Vermont," where he demonstrated his linguistic ability by writing in seventeen different languages (quoted in Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, p. 292).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In addition to the Book of Mormon, he made several other "translations":

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Although every president of the Mormon church supposedly holds all the authority and powers granted by God to Joseph Smith (Doctrine and Covenants 107:92), none of them has ventured to exercise the divine power to translate.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Even ordinary members of the church were promised linguistic gifts, the ancient "gift of tongues," by which the faithful could speak in languages they did not know, and interpret the sayings of others who spoke in strange languages (Dandamp;C 46:25-26, 109:36). andnbsp; Many instances of "speaking in tongues" are recorded from the early days of Mormonism. andnbsp; In modern times, however, Mormons seem to be content with seeing that "gift" in the fact that their missionaries successfully study foreign languages to be able to preach in other countries.

Some Further Preliminary Considerations

"Translated by the power of God"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If God is in fact involved in providing translations through his chosen servants, and if God has specifically called such servants to be "translators", one can assume that God has a purpose in doing so, and that the purpose must obviously be to furnish mankind with important messages. andnbsp; It cannot serve God's purposes if those translators are in fact unable to provide accurate translations of the sacred material. andnbsp; Surely, if God is at work here, the translations will be accurate and reliable. andnbsp; Man's frailty or inabilities cannot be a frustration to the work of an omnipotent God, one would think. andnbsp; And Dandamp;C 3:3 reiterates that idea:
"Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;..."
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One should be able to assume, then, that God is a master of all the world's languages, and that if we find mistranslations or ignorance of the meanings of words, or inability to express an idea accurately, we are not dealing with a message from God, but a message from someone who merely claims to be speaking for God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons will probably cite as an excuse for such errors the passage in the Book of Mormon (BoM), which says (Mormon 8:17) "And if there be faults [in this record] they be the faults of a man....". andnbsp; They do not seem to realize that such an admission implies that any faults mean that - at least at that point - the man was not inspired by God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormon apologists who try to deal with the many translation problems often try to excuse and explain the problems by showing how translating is an inaccurate art, how difficult it is, how translators are hampered by the inexact correspondence of one language with another. andnbsp; All of which is very true, if one is looking at a translation done by a translator who was working with no divine assistance. andnbsp; But none of those excuses can apply to Joseph Smith, who, although he was called the "translator," was merely supposed to be acting as God' secretary. andnbsp; Accounts of the "translation" process which produced the Book of Mormon describe how the divine power would not let him proceed past a phrase until God considered it correct. andnbsp;

Anachronisms - A Sure Proof of Fraud

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Probably ever since mankind began to write, there have been those who have tried to take advantage of the power of the written word by passing off their own writings, which would not have much credence if their true authorship were known, as the writings of someone with more authority, especially some long-dead authority. andnbsp; There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such examples in the documentary history of mankind: the Donation of Constantine, or the Songs of Ossian, to name just two non-religious works. andnbsp; In ancient times it was very common, and perhaps not even considered dishonest, to publish such a pseudepigraph: most of the biblical Apocryphal books are pseudepigrapha, and even some of the canonical books of the Bible are considered by many Bible scholars to have been written by someone other than the author whose name is associated with it (the Epistles of Peter, the Book of Daniel, the last part of Isaiah, some of the "Pauline" epistles, and others). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; However, it is often important, in deciding whether to trust what a document says, to know whether its purported author really wrote it, or whether it was written later (especially much later) by someone else. andnbsp; Thus, techniques were developed by scholars to test such texts, and these tests have proved to be remarkably helpful and accurate.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One of the most important tests for uncovering an allegedly ancient text that is really a product of later times is the presence of anachronisms, that is, things that are inappropriate to the time in which the work supposedly was written. andnbsp; It is a very straightforward and relatively common-sense test.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; For example: Suppose I show you a small book that says on its cover: "Journal of Gen'l George Washington." You look through the book and at first reading it does, indeed, appear to be the journal of a period in the life of George Washington. andnbsp; What a treasure! It sounds authentic. andnbsp; Its language is typical of the late 18th century, when Washington lived. andnbsp; It contains material hitherto unknown to historians, and yet not contradictory to what is known. andnbsp; I explain to you that it is a faithful typewritten copy of a handwritten book that was found among my grandfather's belongings.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; As you read it, however, you come across this sentence: "This aft'noon rec'd an urgent wire, took the rr train to Philadelphia, arr'd toward evening, met by M. Adams at the sta." andnbsp; andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What is your reaction? andnbsp; Are you suspicious? andnbsp; You know that the railroad did not exist in Washington's day, nor did the term "rr train" or "sta[tion]" as a place where one would meet a "rr train." andnbsp; andnbsp; Nor was a message called a "wire", since that term came into use only with the invention of the telegraph in the next century. andnbsp; These are anachronisms, and immediately mark the text as not from the times of Washington.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What explanation could I give you that would persuade you to accept this text as genuine? andnbsp; I could probably try to defend the authenticity of my text. andnbsp; I could suggest that "rr train" was probably a special shorthand Washington was using for "stagecoach" (even though there is no evidence of such a use in any genuine Washington writings, or in any other writings from the time). andnbsp; A similar argument might be made for "wire" for a message. andnbsp; But to any scholar, and to any ordinary person using common sense and a rudimentary knowledge of history, this text is a clumsy fraud.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I listed all the things that are authentic in the text, or that sound believable or possible? andnbsp; No, I would hope not.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I argued that, after all, it was only two little anachronisms? andnbsp; No, I would hope not. andnbsp; Even only one anachronism - unless it can be conclusively shown to be a later insertion by someone else (a corruption of the original text) - is enough to condemn a text as not authentic.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I confided to you that the journal had been given to my grandfather by an angel of God, and that the angel had told him that it was authentic? andnbsp; I suppose to some people that would make a difference, but only the very, very gullible.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The examples given above are of anachronistic objects. andnbsp; A linguistic anachronism is the use of a word which actually did not come into use until much later than the alleged date of the document. andnbsp; For example, if we found in the purported journal of Washington the expression "fifth column" (meaning undercover sabotage agents), we would know that the journal is not authentic, since that expression was coined and first used during the Spanish Civil War in the twentieth century. andnbsp; Many of the anachronisms in Mormon scriptures are of this type, as will be illustrated below.

"King James" Style

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; An observant reader of the Book of Mormon quickly notices that the style of English used there is similar to that of the King James Authorized translation of the Bible, with "thee" and "thou" and verb phrases like "hath seen" or frequent use of "behold." andnbsp; andnbsp; Modern Bible translations generally avoid archaic language and use contemporary language instead. andnbsp; And, of course, when the King James translators were writing their translation, they were writing in contemporary language, the language of England in 1611.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Why would the Book of Mormon - also purportedly a translation of an ancient record, like the Bible - not be translated into the modern language of the translator (i.e., the American language of 1829)? andnbsp; Why use a form of English that had disappeared (except for the King James Bible) from daily use? andnbsp; True, in the 19th century it was not uncommon for translations of ancient secular works (such a Greek drama, Latin poetry, Norse epics) to use an antiquated form of English, for the purpose of emphasizing the antiquity of the original.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Ant that may be the reason for Joseph Smith's use of archaic English in his translation. andnbsp; However, that does not explain why the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants appear in the same archaic English. andnbsp; They do not purport to be ancient documents, but modern. andnbsp; One gets the impression that Smith's familiarity with the King James Bible led him to believe that when God speaks English, it's got to be the English of 1611. andnbsp; But why? andnbsp; Why would God speak in that particular style of English? andnbsp; But that seems to be the rather pervasive belief among Mormons, who consider it improper to use anything but King James English when praying. andnbsp; Mormon leaders sometimes suggest that such a style of speaking is more "sacred."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Some Mormon leaders have even insisted that prayers should address God with "thee" and "thou" rather than "you" because, they say, "thee" and "thou" are more "respectful" than "you." andnbsp; andnbsp; This shows an ignorance of the history of the differing forms, as well as of the use of the equivalent forms in other modern languages which still use them (German, French, Spanish, etc.). andnbsp; The "you" form (as well as "ye") is originally the plural form for "thee" and "thou," and the use of the plural when speaking to only one person began as a sign of respect, whereas "thee" and "thou" (often called the "familiar" forms) did not indicate respect. andnbsp; As it became customary to show more and more respect to more and more people, "you" gradually supplanted the singular forms entirely in daily use. andnbsp; Thus the Mormons have it backwards.

Specific Language Problems in Mormonism

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I will now discuss some of the many linguistic problems in Mormonism which show that its linguistic claims do not withstand close examination.

The word "Mormon"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word 'mormo' or 'mormon' can be found in any dictionary of classical Greek. It means "scarecrow, bugbear, ghost, demon."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Apparently someone who knew some Greek tried to make something of this, and Joseph Smith responded with a "letter to the editor":

Editor of the Times and Seasons:

SIR:–Through the medium of your paper I wish to correct an error among men that profess to be learned, liberal and wise; and I do it the more cheerfully because I hope sober-thinking and sound-reasoning people will sooner listen to the voice of truth than be led astray by the vain pretensions of the self-wise.

The error I speak of is the definition of the word "Mormon." It has been stated that this word was derived from the Greek word mormo. This is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of the Lord, translated the Book of Mormon. Let the language of the book speak for itself. ...

Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say that the Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says according to the gospel of John, "I am the good shepherd" and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word MORMON; which means, literally, more good.


[emphasis added] Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.13, May 15, 1843, p.194,
also History of the Church Vol. 5, p.399, in a slightly altered version

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Several questions arise:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If Joseph Smith was simply translating by the power of God, without actually having to know the foreign language(s) from which he was translating, how did he know that there was no Latin or Greek? andnbsp; Since Smith did not know any Latin or Greek at the time he was "translating" the plates, it must have been God who told him that there was no Latin or Greek in the plates. andnbsp; (Remember this statement for later!)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; How does a modern English word ("more") come to be part of an ancient Nephite (or Egyptian?) name?

"Isaiah" and "Esaias"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah appears in its Hebrew form (Anglicized as 'Isaiah') only in the Old Testament (in fact, Isaiah is mentioned in the Old Testament only in the historical books of Kings and Chronicles, and in the book bearing his name). andnbsp; Because the New Testament writers wrote in Greek, not Hebrew, whenever New Testament writers referred to this prophet, they used the Greek form of the name: 'Esaias.' The King James Version, which is the only version of the Bible Joseph Smith knew, also uses the Greek version of the name, anglicized as 'Esaias' rather than the Hebrew form 'Isaiah.' Most modern translations of the New Testament use the form 'Isaiah' rather than 'Esaias' so as to make clear to the reader that it is the Old Testament prophet Isaiah that is being referred to. andnbsp; The name 'Esaias' thus occurs 21 times in the King James New Testament (but never in the Old Testament), and in each instance the writer is referring back to a prophecy of Isaiah. andnbsp; Examine some of those occurrences of 'Esaias' in the KJV New Testament, and then check the Old Testament passages of Isaiah to which they refer:

NT Quote of "Esaias" Source in OT: "Isaiah"
Matt 3:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23Isa 40:3
Matt 4:14Isa 9:1-2
Matt 8:17, John 12:38, Rom 10:16Isa 53:1-4
Matt 12:17Isa 42:1
Matt 13:14, John 12:39-41, Acts 28:25Isa 6:9
Matt 15:7, Mark 7:6Isa 29:13
Luke 4:17Isa 61:1
Acts 8:27-32Isa 53:7-8
Rom 9:27Isa 10:22
Rom 9:29Isa 1:9
Rom 10:20Isa 65:1

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Each of these King James New Testament passages refers to the words of "Esaias" and then quotes the book of Isaiah. andnbsp; It would seem obvious that in the minds of the New Testament writers Isaiah and Esaias are one and the same.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But Dandamp;C 84:11-13 says that Esaias was a prophet who lived in the days of Abraham, many centuries before Isaiah. andnbsp; And Dandamp;C 76:100 distinguishes Esaias from Isaiah:

"...these are they who say they are some of one and some of another; some of Christ; and some of John; and some of Moses; and some of Elias; and some of Esaias; and some of Isaiah; ..." [emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; "Ezias" also occurs in the Book of Mormon (Hel 8:20) in a list of prophets who have testified to the coming of a savior, also as a different prophet from Isaiah: "Zenos... also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah,..."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, according to Mormon revelation through Joseph Smith, there was a prophet in the days of Abraham who had a Greek name, the same name as used by speakers of Greek two thousand years later for the great prophet Isaiah, and who appears to be unknown to any bible writer, but upon whom God personally conferred the priesthood. andnbsp; And his prophecies of the coming savior are lost.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Perhaps God should have explained to Joseph Smith that the same person's name can appear in different versions in different languages, but it is still the same person: the king who is called Charlemagne by the French and the English is the same person that the Germans call Karl der Grosse; the emperor called Don Carlos by the Spaniards is the same person we call Charles V.

"Elijah" and "Elias"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith's problem with 'Elijah' (Hebrew) and 'Elias' (Greek) is similar, but more complicated.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name 'Elijah' occurs in this Hebrew form in the Bible (King James Translation) only in the Old Testament, over sixty times. andnbsp; Almost all occurrences are in I and II Kings, but a very important occurrence is in the prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6:

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Christian Bible, the Old Testament books are arranged so that this verse is the last verse in the Old Testament, emphasizing the Christian interpretation of this passage as a prophecy which is fulfilled in the gospels immediately following. andnbsp; In the Jewish arrangement of the scriptures, Malachi is the last of the minor prophets, and is followed by the books called "Writings"; thus it is nowhere near the end of the Hebrew scriptures. andnbsp; (For more problems with this passage, see below.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The fame of Elijah rested not only on his great life and the Malachi prophecy, but on the fact that he did not die; he was carried into heaven without tasting death (II Kings 2:11). andnbsp; It was perhaps this fact that allowed the Jews to accept the possibility that Elijah would, in fact, return as Malachi prophesied, since ordinarily the dead do not come back. andnbsp; Elijah, however, never having actually died, could return.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name in the form 'Elijah' does not occur in the Greek New Testament, nor does 'Elias' occur in the Old Testament. andnbsp; But 'Elias' occurs thirty times in the King James New Testament , and almost always in reference to the Malachi prophecy. andnbsp; John the Baptist was considered by many to be the returning Elijah. andnbsp; Notice however that it is always 'Elias' that is spoken of (Matt 11:14, 16:14, 17:11, Mark 9:11-13, John 1:21, 25 and parallels - KJV). andnbsp; At Romans 11:2-3, Paul quotes 'Elias' with the words of Elijah from I Kings 19:14.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; At the Transfiguration, Moses and 'Elias' appear (Matt 17:3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30, KJV), and the disciples are informed that "Elias has come" (Matt 17:12, Mark 9:12). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Most modern translations of the New Testament use the Hebrew version of the name ('Elijah') instead of the Greek 'Elias' in order to avoid confusion and to emphasize that these two names refer to the same Old Testament prophet.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But Joseph Smith obviously did not know this, and apparently God didn't tell him: In Dandamp;C 27:6-9, 'Elias' and 'Elijah' are treated as distinctly different prophets:

"And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days;
7 And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;
8 Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron;
9 And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;..."
[emphasis added] (see also Dandamp;C 138:45-46)
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Both Elias and Elijah also are reported to have appeared as two separate beings in the Kirtland temple (Dandamp;C 110:12, 13):
"12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.
13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--..."
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, for Joseph Smith, the Greek name referred to one prophet and the Hebrew name referred to another.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This has caused no end of trouble for Mormon theologians. andnbsp; Mormon apostle and theologian Bruce R. McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, takes more than three pages to try to unravel the contradictions. andnbsp; He distinguishes five (!) meanings for "Elias":

1. A prophet of Abraham's time (Dandamp;C 110:12) and the "spirit" or "doctrine" of this prophet; McConkie admits that "We have no information, at this time, as to the mortal life or ministry of Elias. andnbsp; It is apparent that he lived in the days of Abraham, but whether he was Abraham [!], or Melchizedek, or some other prophet, we do not know."

2. The Greek form of 'Elijah'; McConkie says, "This leads to some confusion..." andnbsp; andnbsp; (Yes, especially in the mind of Joseph Smith!)

3. The Spirit and Doctrine of Elias, which is to prepare for a greater work to come (this must therefore pertain only to the Aaronic priesthood, says McConkie).

4. The Elias of the Restoration. andnbsp; According to Joseph Smith, says McConkie, Christ is the Elias (JST "Inspired Version" John 1:21-28). andnbsp; McConkie clarifies: "By revelation we are also informed that the Elias who was to restore all things is the angel Gabriel who was know in mortality as Noah. (Dandamp;C 27:6-7) ... From the same authentic source we also learn that the promised Elias is John the Revelator. (Dandamp;C 77:9, 14)." andnbsp; andnbsp; McConkie then concludes that 'Elias' is a "composite personage." andnbsp; andnbsp; It is a "name and a title."

5. John the Baptist is a good example of an 'Elias,' says McConkie.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, which explanation makes more sense and is more likely the case? andnbsp; McConkie's (Elias is a hitherto unknown prophet of Abraham's time, with a Greek name, or maybe Abraham himself, or Melchizedek, and Christ, and Elijah, and John the Baptist, and John the Revelator, and a "spirit or doctrine")? andnbsp; Or the more obvious conclusion that Joseph Smith was simply ignorant of the fact that the King James New Testament uses the Greek version of Old Testament names?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Moral: all it takes is one stupid mistake to form the basis for an entire complicated theology.

"Jehovah" and "Elohim"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In a doctrinal statement by the Mormon First Presidency "The Father and the Son" (cited by Mormon theologian James Talmage in his The Articles of Faith, pp. 465ff) the prophets state that "Elohim" refers to God the Father, and "Jehovah" refers to God the Son. This distinction is also portrayed in the Mormon temple ritual drama, the "endowment," where "Elohim" gives instructions to "Jehovah and Michael" and sends them off to carry them out, which they do.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This is a fundamental mistranslation of the Hebrew scriptures.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Exodus 6:2-3 says, translated literally from Hebrew:

2 And Elohim spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am YHWH [Jehovah].
3 And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as "El Shaddai" [God Almighty], but by my name YHWH I was not known to them.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word "Elohim" means "God" and is translated in most English Bibles by "God," whereas "YHWH" - as this passage indicates, is the sacred name of God, and is translated in most English Bibles as "the LORD". In the Old Testament the terms are almost interchangeable, and frequently one version of an Old Testament story refers to the deity as "Elohim" (translated as "God") and another version of the same story uses the term "YHWH" (translated as "the LORD"). There are hundreds of such examples. andnbsp; In fact, it was the use of these different terms in Hebrew for the deity that first led scholars to surmise that the first five books of the Old Testament are from differing sources and traditions: one that called God "Elohim", and another that called him "YHWH". Here are just a few examples:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Flood story, God is referred to as "Elohim" in Gen 6:9-22; 7:9, 16; 8:1, 15. But God - apparently the same God - is called "YHWH (Jehovah)" in 6:5-7; 7:1-5, 16; 8:20. In God's dealings with Abraham, God is called "Elohim" in Genesis 17, but "YHWH" in Genesis 18. It is clear that these are not two different personages, but just one God, referred to by two different terms. andnbsp; Hundreds of other examples could be cited. (See any analytical concordance under "God" and "Lord" for a complete listing.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word 'elohim' is grammatically the plural of the noun 'el' or 'eloi', which was the Semitic word meaning "god." andnbsp; andnbsp; It is the same root as in the Arabic word "Allah." andnbsp; andnbsp; Scholars believe that the Hebrews adopted the word from their neighbors the Canaanites, since "El" was the name of one of their chief gods.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith, after he began to study Hebrew with a Hebrew teacher and later began to delve into the Jewish occultism in the Kabbalah, made much of the fact that the word "Elohim" is grammatically plural, and used that to justify his doctrine of the plurality of gods. andnbsp; This is reflected in his Book of Abraham, where "the gods" are reported to have created the world (Abraham 3), whereas the corresponding passages of his (equally inspired?) Book of Moses (Moses 2), the creator reports that "I, God, said, Let there be light [etc.]"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; For an extensive discussion about Smith's sources for this interpretation of "Elohim," see "Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection" by Lance S. Owens, in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1994, pp. 117-194, also online here.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, Joseph Smith again assumes that two different names must signify two different personages.

"Christ the Messiah"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Not many people are aware of the fact that the word "Messiah" is used in the King James Translation of the Old Testament only twice: in chapter 9 of the book of Daniel (written in the second century B.C.). andnbsp; The Greek transliteration ("Messias") of this Hebrew word is used only twice in the New Testament, in the Gospel of John (1:41 and 4:25).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word which gives us the term "messiah" is 'mashiach,' meaning literally "[the] anointed [one]" and is used 47 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, in reference to all anointed persons: priests, kings, etc. andnbsp; It is only relatively late in Hebrew literature that it came to have the additional special meaning of the yet-to-come anointed king of the house of David who was expected to appear and free the Jews from foreign domination and establish God's kingdom forever on earth, and thus also end the world as we know it.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Usually in the New Testament, which was written in Greek, the Hebrew word 'mashiach' is translated into Greek with the Greek word which means "anointed": 'christos', and that Greek word is usually not translated into English, but only transliterated (anglicized), as "Christ," with a capital letter.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One of the fundamental teachings of Christianity, of course (and I am including Mormonism here, since Mormons share this view), is that Jesus was that promised Messiah (or "anointed [king]"). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Greek of the New Testament, of course, he was referred to as "Jesus the Anointed One" ('Iesous ho christos'), which in Hebrew or Aramaic would be something like "Ieshua ha mashiach."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, when we look at the Book of Mormon (supposedly translated from Hebrew written in "Reformed Egyptian"), we find that the term "Messiah" occurs about 25 times. andnbsp; The term "Christ" occurs about 317 times.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Several questions arise:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What is the difference, for the Book of Mormon author(s), between the Hebrew word "messiah" and the Greek word "christ"? andnbsp; (Especially when Joseph Smith insisted that there were no Greek words in the Book of Mormon.) Why is the Hebrew word used sometimes, but the Greek word at other times? Remember, these authors are supposedly Jews who knew no Greek! Were there two different Nephite (i.e. "Reformed Egyptian") words in the original text, one to be translated as "Messiah" and the other as "Christ"? andnbsp; If so, what was the difference in their meaning, and what was their origin?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The confusion is compounded in 2 Nephi 25:19, where Nephi writes:

For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. [emphasis added]

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Putting aside for the moment the question "What Old Testament prophets said that the messiah would be named Jesus Christ?" we would like to ask what this passage must have looked like in "Reformed Egyptian," since it is translating two occurrences of the same word ("the anointed one") in different ways, one with the Greek word "Christ" and one with the Hebrew word "Messiah." Why?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another question is why Nephi would think that the word "Christ" is a "name"! It is not a name, even though many Sunday School children think of it as a name ("Jesus Christ was the son of Joseph Christ and Mary Christ"). It is a title. andnbsp; This passage is like saying "The name of the Father of our country was President Washington."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon seemed to have Greek and Hebrew words at his disposal, but he did not understand their meaning. andnbsp; Does that sound like God? andnbsp; Or Nephi? andnbsp; Or Joseph Smith?

More Greek in the Book of Mormon

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Remember that Joseph Smith said that there was "no Greek or Latin" in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; And it should not contain any Greek or Latin, since neither of those languages were familiar to the inhabitants of Palestine before Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. andnbsp; However, as we shall see, there are many Greek words in the Book of Mormon, and that fact must cast doubt on the claim that it was written by Jews who broke off all contact with their homeland in about 590 B.C. andnbsp; Historically, the Greek language was not used in Palestine until after the conquest of the Middle East by Alexander the Great, in 325 B.C., long after Lehi had left. andnbsp; Latin did not come into use until the first century B.C. andnbsp; Thus, any Greek or Latin words in the Book of Mormon are linguistic anachronisms.

"Church" and "synagogue"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the BoM at 1 Nephi 4:24-26 is this passage, where Nephi has just beheaded Laban, and has disguised himself in Laban's (miraculously non-bloody) clothing. He is speaking to Laban's servant:
24 And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls.
25 And I also bade him that he should follow me.
26 And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me.
[emphasis added]
Does that sound odd? (Remember, this is a Jew in Jerusalem, 600 BC. Remember, too, that this "translation" is supposed to be divinely inspired.)

What word could Nephi have been using in "Reformed Egyptian" that God would inspire Joseph Smith to translate as "church"? The word "church" is never used in the Old Testament, not even in the King James Version. In fact, there was no such thing as a "church" among the Jews in 600 B.C. When the Jews referred to the religious community of Jews (which was really just the community of Jews - there was no notion of "religion" or religious organization separate from the idea of the community), they used Hebrew terms which are translated in the KJV Old Testament as "congregation" (over 300 occurrences): usually translating the Hebrew words 'moed' ("meeting place, meeting"), 'edah' ("appointed meeting, assembly, people"), or 'qahal' ("gathering, assembly").

Why would God not inspire Joseph Smith to use a word that would fit in with the King James style that Smith was using already? Like "congregation"? The word "church" occurs in the Bible (KJV) only in the New Testament, and, except for two passages in Matthew (which many scholars consider to be later interpolations), only after the death of Jesus and the rise of the organization referred to since then as the "church." andnbsp; andnbsp; In the English New Testament the word "church" is usually used to translate the Greek word 'ekklesia,' which literally means "assembly" from the root meaning "call forth." The term meant specifically the organization to which the followers of Jesus belonged, to distinguish them from the Jewish "congregation."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In 600 B.C. the organization of the religious life of the Jews was simply the organization of the hereditary priesthood, and either one was born a priest, or one was not. There was no organization to "join." There was no "church."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This becomes even stranger when Nephi begins to talk about the "two churches" of God and of the devil, in 1 Nephi 14, in the sense of distinctive religious groups with differing beliefs.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; And then, in Mosiah 25:19-21, the word "churches" is used as though for the first time. andnbsp; Notice that the author feels he must explain what "churches" means. andnbsp; But didn't Nephi already use the "Reformed Egyptian" term, and didn't the writer of Mosiah have Nephi's writing available?

19 And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church.
20 Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly;
21 Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma.
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, throughout Mosiah and Alma, the word "church" is used (one or two centuries before Jesus), even though it is really a New Testament word and a New Testament concept. andnbsp; And it seems to be a new concept for that time, although Nephi had written about "the church" in his records several centuries earlier.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Jews, meanwhile, in Palestine, were meeting in "synagogues" for worship, prayer and teaching. And "synagogues" are mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon (25 occurrences). However, the word as used there is not used as a variant of "church," but rather appears to mean something different - usually the place of worship of a sincere but false religion. One of the first occurrences of "synagogue" in the Book of Mormon is Alma 16:13:

"And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews."
Now, this passage is extremely interesting, because the Book of Mormon does not indicate that there was any contact between the descendants of Lehi and the Jews in Israel after about 590 B.C. And yet scholars of Jewish religious history are almost unanimous in the view that the synagogue, which we think of as so typical of Jewish religious life, did not exist before the destruction of the temple and the Babylonian Captivity (after 589 B.C.)! So how could any Nephite know about "synagogues ... after the manner of the Jews"?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Even the word "synagogue" is Greek (from 'syn-' "together" and 'ag-' "bring, lead"), and, as mentioned earlier, Greek influence was practically non-existent in Palestine until the fourth century B.C., long after Lehi supposedly had left. The word "synagogue" is used only once in the KJV Old Testament (Psalm 74:8) as a translation for 'moed.' So what is it doing in the Book of Mormon?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Is it possible that Joseph Smith (and his "divine" inspiration) couldn't translate these terms properly, thus casting doubt on the divinity of the work? Or is it more likely that this is just another indication that Joseph Smith was trying to produce another "bible" on his own, without sufficient linguistic knowledge to get away with it?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Of course, Mormons will say that these passages prove that there were synagogues and churches in Jerusalem in 600 B.C.


andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In 2 Nephi 29:3-10, Nephi (writing supposedly about 550 B.C.) prophesies that when the book he is writing (the Book of Mormon) comes forth, "many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible..."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word "Bible" is being used here in the sense that it had in Joseph Smith's day: a collection of sacred writings in a closed canon. andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word "Bible," of course, is not found in the Bible itself. andnbsp; When the original Bible writers wanted to refer to the sacred writings, the Hebrew writers in the Old Testament used the Hebrew word 'k-th-b' "writing(s)." which included all kinds of writings, both secular and sacred. andnbsp; The New Testament writers, writing in Greek, used the word 'graphe,' which also means simply "[something] written" or even "drawn, painted."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Our English word "Bible" is an anglicization of the Greek word 'biblia', which means "books," and is simply the plural of the Greek word 'biblion' meaning "book." andnbsp; andnbsp; This word (in its singular form only) appears about twenty times in the New Testament, referring to a particular sacred book. andnbsp; But it never appears in the plural (except once, and then it refers to pagan writings). andnbsp; The idea of a Christian canon (list of approved books, a "Bible" in the traditional sense) began only in the second century A.D., and the first such "canon" was put together by Marcion about 150 A.D. (who is now considered by Christians to be a heretic).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The King James Version of the Bible uses the word "scriptures" only in the New Testament, where it is very common. andnbsp; ("Scripture" in the singular, appears in the KJV Old Testament, and only once, in Daniel 10:21.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; At the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem (600 B.C.) the idea of a closed canon of scripture (a "Bible") had not developed. andnbsp; There was no such thing. andnbsp; If you study the history of the development of the Jewish and Christian canon, you will find that the idea of canonizing certain books (that is, stamping them with the seal of divine authority) did not arise until the Alexandrian Jews, who no longer were fluent in Hebrew, wanted to translate the Hebrew sacred writings into Greek (about 250 B.C.), and thus a decision had to be made as to what books to translate. andnbsp; The result, completed only after several generations, was the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament), the first attempt to create a canon, a "bible." andnbsp; andnbsp; The Jewish canon was not determined completely until the first century A.D.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; So the question arises with the word "Bible" in 2 Nephi: what Hebrew (or "Reformed Egyptian") word appeared on the golden plates, to be translated as "Bible"? andnbsp; The Book of Mormon uses the word "scriptures" about 38 times. andnbsp; It is used in the way the New Testament writers use it. andnbsp; "Bible" is a word, and - more important - a concept which did not even exist until several centuries after it was supposedly written by Nephi.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If the Book of Mormon were authentic and historically accurate, one would expect that when God told Nephi that the Gentiles would cry, "A Bible! We have a Bible!" Nephi would have asked, "Excuse me, God, what does 'Bible' mean? andnbsp; It's an idea I'm not familiar with." andnbsp; andnbsp; And God would have given Nephi an explanation, so that Nephite readers of his record would know what was meant: something that would develop only many centuries later.

More Greek Names

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If you look through the list of names in the pronunciation guide which the church includes in every Book of Mormon, you will find other names in the Book of Mormon that are Greek, and therefore anachronistic:

More on Book of Mormon Names

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons scholars have tried to analyze names in the Book of Mormon to show that they show Egyptian characteristics, or that they are actually Hebrew names which do not occur in the Bible, but only in authentic texts discovered since Joseph Smith's day. andnbsp; Such evidence is not convincing, since the similarities are often somewhat far-fetched, and can be attributed to pure coincidence. andnbsp; In the case of Hebrew names, especially, since Hebrew did not use vowels, and most Hebrew names consist of no more than three or four consonants, it is not suprising that actual Hebrew names would be similar to unusual names in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; The similarities are pure coincidence.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons object to the critics' calling such similarities "pure coincidence." andnbsp; andnbsp; And yet that is precisely the argument Mormons use when presented with remarkable similarities of Book of Mormon names to names which existed in the world of the 19th century.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The names "Cumorah" (spelled in the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon as "Camorah") and "Moroni" appeared on maps available in Joseph Smith's time, showing the Camoros Islands with their capital city Moroni. andnbsp; A remarkable coincidence!

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Vernal Holley, in his study Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, third edition, 1992, (online here) lists over a dozen names of geographical locations within a few hundred miles of where Joseph Smith lived, in New York, Pennsylvania and nearby areas, which closely resemble Book of Mormon names, the most obvious one, of course, being the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, which is practically identical to the name of the patriarch Lehi of the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; There are quite a few such similar names:

Lehi (Nephi 1, passim) Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Onidah (Alma 47:5) Oneida, New York
Angola (Mormon 2:4) Angola, New York
Morianton (Alma 50:25) Morgantown, Pennsylvania
Jacobugath (3 Nephi 9:9) Jacobsburg, Ohio
Alma (Alma, passim) Alma, West Virginia or Alma, Quebec
Shilom (Mosiah 7, 9 passim) Shiloh, Ohio
Kishkumen (Helaman 1, 2) Kiskiminitas River, Ohio
Moron (Ether 7) Morin, Quebec
Shurr (Ether 14:28) Sherbrooke, Quebec
Teancum (Mormon 4) Tecumseh, Ontario
Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) Ripley, Maine or Ripley, New York

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I am not suggesting that the real author of the Book of Mormon actually used these modern place names, or that he was even consciously aware of them. andnbsp; I list them primarily to show that any similarities between Book of Mormon names and Egyptian or Hebrew names unknown to Joseph Smith which may be cited as "evidence of the Book of Mormon" are rather meaningless. andnbsp; It is interesting to note, however, that the city of "Teancum" is described as "by the seashore" (Mormon 4:3), and the town of Tecumseh, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, is close to Lake Erie. andnbsp; Also, "Ripliancum" is supposedly the name of a large body of water or "waters", and Ripley, Maine, is within 40 miles of the cluster of large lakes in north-central Maine, whereas Ripley, New York, is on the shore of Lake Erie.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It is odd that the text of the Book of Mormon contains a number of words or names which the author "translates" for us:

Irreantum (1 Ne 17:5) "many waters"
Rabbanah (Alma 18:13) "powerful or great king"
Rameumpton (Alma 31:21) "the holy stand [pulpit]"
Liahona (Alma 37:38) "compass" (see below)
Deseret (Ether 2:3) "honey bee"
Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) "large, to exceed all"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But if these were real "Reformed Egyptian/Nephite" words with those meanings, why would Nephi be translating them for us? andnbsp; It would be like my writing something like "And they came unto Salt Lake, which, being interpreted, means 'Salt Lake'."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; "Irreantum" is especially problematical, because Nephi says that this is the name given by the Lehites to the Indian Ocean. andnbsp; We must assume that the Lehite band were still speaking relatively pure Hebrew, since they had left Jerusalem only a few years before. andnbsp; But "irreantum" is not a Hebrew word, nor does it even resemble a Hebrew word.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; There are at least three words (other than proper names), however, which the author sees no need to translate: "neas" (Mosiah 9:9, apparently a kind of edible plant), and "cureloms and cumoms" (Ether 9:19, both "more useful" domestic animals than horses and asses). andnbsp; One must wonder why these words were not "interpreted" when they were mentioned. andnbsp; Incidentally, these items pose real problems for Mormon apologists, since they are supposed to represent real plants and real animals that were relatively abundant in ancient America. andnbsp; And yet the fact that God's translator was unable to identify them with any known species, either ancient or modern, necessarily raises the question as to whether they actually existed except in the imagination of the author.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The opposite question occurs with the names Bountiful and Desolation, each the name both of a "land" and of a city. andnbsp; Surely these common English words are not the actual names by which the Nephites referred to these cities and countries. andnbsp; But what were their Nephite names? And why doesn't the author follow the same pattern that was used before, with "Irreantum," for example? andnbsp; To put it another way, if Joseph Smith was really translating, and the Nephite word for "bountiful" occurred in the text, and he was inspired to translate it into English, why didn't the same thing occur with all the other geographical place names, which undoubtedly also had meanings?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It would be analogous to my writing about events occurring in places in modern America for German-speaking readers, and sometimes I would mention "Salt Lake City, which interpreted [in German] means 'Salz-See-Stadt'", but then I would refer to "Ludwigstadt", meaning St. Louis, and the Germans would wonder that there is a large city in America with a German name, since I did not use its real name.

Isabel the Harlot

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon mentions a harlot named Isabel (Alma 39:3). andnbsp; "Isabel" is a name that only came into use in France and Italy during the late Middle Ages. andnbsp; How could it occur in the Book of Mormon during Alma's life?

More King James Mistranslations in the Book of Mormon

"virgin" - 2 Nephi 17:14 = Isaiah 7:14
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon preserves some demonstrable mistranslations of the King James Version of the Bible. andnbsp; One notable example is Isaiah 7:14, which in the KJV is translated "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." andnbsp; andnbsp; This is copied word for word into the Book of Mormon at 2 Nephi 17:14. andnbsp; The problem is that the Hebrew text has the word 'almah,' which does not mean "virgin," but "young woman": the Hebrew word for "virgin" is 'bethulah,' and most modern Bible translations do not use "virgin" to translate Isaiah 7:14. andnbsp; (Some Christians, including the author of Matthew 1:22-23, view this passage as a prophecy of the birth of Jesus from the virgin Mary, but that ignores the entire context of that chapter: the purpose of the prophecy was to answer King Ahaz' question about the outcome of his upcoming war with Syria and Israel.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The error can be traced back to the fact that the King James translators relied heavily on the Latin (Vulgate) translation of the Bible by Jerome, from the 4th century A.D. andnbsp; Jerome, in turn, relied on the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Old Testament. andnbsp; In Greek there is only one word for both meanings ("virgin" and "young woman"), making the Greek translation from Hebrew ambiguous. andnbsp; But why would Nephi be confused? andnbsp; He was (supposedly) in possession of the original Hebrew text, which would have had the word 'almah,' not 'bethulah.' But he mistranslates the passage just as Jerome and the King James translators mistranslated it many centuries later.

"Lucifer" - 2 Nephi 24:12 = Isaiah 14:12
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another remarkable example is at 2 Nephi 24:12, copied from Isaiah 14:12, as translated in the KJV: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" Here again the problem is a reliance on Jerome's Latin version (remember, from the 4th century A.D.!).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The only place the word "Lucifer" occurs in the entire Bible is in the King James Version at this passage. andnbsp; Other translations do not have "Lucifer" there (or anywhere at all), but translate the word correctly as "day-star," "star of the morning" or "morning star."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This passage, when read in context, is addressed to the king of Babylon, who was very proud and haughty and surrounded in worldly glory, but who was to be destroyed. andnbsp; "Lucifer" is used in Jerome's Latin (and, following Jerome, in the King James Version) to translate the Hebrew word 'helel', which means "morning star" (i.e., the planet Venus). andnbsp; The Hebrew root 'h-l-l' means "shine" or "boast," so it is probably a taunting pun in the Hebrew Isaiah. andnbsp; There were two Greek names for the planet, both similar: either 'heos-phoros' meaning "dawn-bringer," or 'phos-phoros' meaning "light-bringer." andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Septuagint (Greek) translation of this passage, probably made in the first or second century B.C., they translated 'helel' with the Greek word 'heos-phoros.' When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, he used the Septuagint as his source and simply translated the Greek word for Venus into the Latin name of that planet, which is an exact translation of the Greek 'phos-phoros': luci-fer, from the Latin roots 'luc-' "light" and 'fer-' "bring, bear, carry."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It was not until well into the Christian era that the idea arose that "Lucifer" was a name, and that the verse applied to Satan and not to the king of Babylon. andnbsp; It is probably influenced by the (erroneous) assumption that Luke 10:18 (saying that Satan fell as lightning from heaven) is a reference to the Isaiah passage.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Oddly, the only other place in the Bible where the term "morning star" ('phosphoros') is used is at 2 Peter 1:19, where it refers to Jesus!

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Revelations 2:28 and 22:16 also refer to the "morning star," meaning Jesus, but use a different Greek phrase made up of the Greek words for "morning" and "star." andnbsp; andnbsp; One verse promises the "morning star" as a reward to the faithful; the latter verse is Jesus' saying "I Jesus ... am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This error is compounded in modern Mormon theology, with Lucifer as the name of a character in the endowment ceremony. andnbsp; See also Dandamp;C 76:25-27:

"And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, 26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him--he was Lucifer, a son of the morning. 27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!"
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Error upon error! A Latin word in the (Hebrew-"reformed Egyptian") Book of Mormon! andnbsp; Now, if a Mormon should object that "Lucifer" is just a translation, then we must ask: What is the Hebrew (or "reformed Egyptian") word which it is translating? andnbsp; And how did it come to be the name of the devil?

"Familiar spirit"
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons believe that Isaiah prophesied the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 29:4):
And thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon itself echos this prophecy, but more specifically (2 Nephi 26:14-17):
14 But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men.
15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
16 For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.
17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons seem unaware that the word used in Isaiah for "familiar spirit" is Hebrew 'ob,' occuring about fifteen times in the Bible. It does not mean "a spirit which sounds familiar to you (because it is written in the style of the King James Bible)," as most Mormons think, but it means the spirit of a dead person, that is, a ghost, summoned by necromancy, which is everywhere condemned in the Bible as abominable (e.g. Leviticus 20:17, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 1 Chronicles 10:13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Isaiah 19:3).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another error influenced by mistranslations in the King James Version is the mention of "steel" and "iron." andnbsp; andnbsp; Others have pointed out that no evidence of iron-working or steel has been found in pre-Columbian America. andnbsp; But "steel" did not exist even in the Old World at the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem. andnbsp; Where the KJV mentions "steel" (three passages: one in a Psalm of David, one in Job, and one in Jeremiah) the original Hebrew text has either 'nechushah' or 'nechosheth,' both of which mean simply "copper" or "brass." andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus it appears that the author of the Book of Mormon believed that "steel" such as was common in the 19th century, was also known in Nephi's day.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The problem becomes more serious for the Book of Mormon, however, since it also uses the term in attributing the knowledge of steel-making to the Jaredites (Ether 7:9), just a few generations after they are supposed to have left the Old World at the time of the Tower of Babel (ca. 2200 B.C.?). andnbsp; Notice that the mention of steel does not imply that it is anything newly invented or previously unknown, but rather quite familiar.


andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I think the most telling anachronism in the Book of Mormon involves the Liahona, the miraculous "ball" or "director" which God gave Lehi to guide him in his travels (1 Nephi 16:10). andnbsp; Even if one grants, for the sake of argument, that God's power includes the ability to give someone a magic ball like the Liahona, there is still an anachronistic problem. andnbsp; In fact, it is what one might call a double anachronism. Notice that in Alma 37:38, Alma is quoted as saying (supposedly speaking about 73 B.C.):
"And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director--or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it." [emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Alma also uses the word "compass" in verses 43 and 44. andnbsp; Nephi also referred to the Liahona as a "compass" at 1 Ne 18:12, 18:21 (supposedly around 590 B.C.), and 2 Ne 5:12 (a few years later).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The passage in Alma is clearly an attempt to explain one (unfamiliar) thing by saying it is like something else, something familiar. andnbsp; Since the Book of Mormon claims to be a translation from Reformed Egyptian (or Nephite?), the English word "compass" must be a translation - divinely inspired, therefore correct! - for some Reformed Egyptian (or Nephite?) word that means what "compass" meant in 1830 American English in such a context, namely, a magnetic instrument used to determine geographical direction.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, go to your encyclopedia and read the article on the history of the compass. andnbsp; You will find that there was no such thing, not even the idea of any such thing, until about 1100 AD in China, about 1187 AD in Europe, about 1220 AD in Arabia, and about 1330 AD in Scandinavia.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; How could a word exist (the Nephite word translated as "compass") when no such device existed (other than the Liahona, of course), or would exist for another 1800 years? andnbsp; (The word "compass" is frequently used in the English Bible translations, of course, but never in the meaning of a direction device, only in the quite unrelated meaning of "limit, circle, boundary, etc.")

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It would be analagous to the passage in Washington's fraudulent journal, where he looks into the future in America, and says: "There will come a time when every man will possess a wonderful device somewhat like a typewriter, yet it will have a picture before it, and the words typed by the typewriter will appear in the picture, and can be sent around the world..." andnbsp; andnbsp; How could Washington explain what a computer is by comparing it to a typewriter, when there was no such thing as a typewriter in his day, and therefore the word "typewriter" did not exist?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; And of course the Mormon will argue the Nephites also had compasses, but they all rotted or rusted away, like the chariots and the steel swords.


andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another anachronistic word in the Jaredite story, easily overlooked, is at Ether 2:22-23, where the brother of Jared is talking with God and reporting to him that he has constructed the vessels for the trans-oceanic voyage to America. andnbsp; The brother of Jared is truly smarter than God himself, since he has noticed something that God had overlooked, and God must ask for advice:
22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces....
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What kind of windows would be "dashed in pieces" by ocean waves? andnbsp; A porthole, opened for light, cannot be dashed in pieces. andnbsp; Only a window covered with some translucent material such as glass would run this danger. andnbsp; Nowadays we think it only natural that windows for admitting light are provided with glass. andnbsp; And in Joseph Smith's day, window glass was very common. andnbsp; But at the time Jared's people were supposed to have lived, translucent windows were still several thousand years in the future. andnbsp; Windows were simply holes cut into the walls. andnbsp; There was no type of window in ancient times that could be "dashed in pieces" by ocean waves! The Book of Mormon is obviously talking about 19th century windows.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Of course, windows are mentioned frequently in the Bible. andnbsp; But they are not windows that could be "dashed in pieces." andnbsp; andnbsp; They are mere openings. andnbsp; The only Bible passage which might be thought to indicate that ancient windows had some translucent material is Isaiah 54:12, God's promise to Israel captive in Babylon, which in the KJV is translated: "I will make thy windows of agates." andnbsp; andnbsp; No other modern translation has "windows" here. andnbsp; The Revised Standard Version translates it "pinnacles," the Jerusalem Bible has "battlements," Today's English Version has "towers," and the Contemporary English Version has "fortresses," with a footnote that the Hebrew text is "difficult" here. andnbsp; In other words, modern scholars do not agree with the translators of the King James Version. andnbsp; Difficult or not, the Book of Mormon reproduces the KJV translation, at 3 Nephi 22:12.

"Reformed Egyptian"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Many writers have commented on the claim that the gold plates were engraved in "reformed Egyptian." andnbsp; andnbsp; The objection usually is that no such form of Egyptian is known. andnbsp; I do not see that as a valid objection, since it is certainly conceivable that an isolated people, over many generations, would develop their own versions of the languages they brought with them to their new home. andnbsp; That is a very well-known phenomenon in the history of the world's languages.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another, more valid objection, is that it is incredible that good Jews such as Lehi and his family would have kept sacred records in a language such as Egyptian. andnbsp; That seems to be inconceivable in light of the reverence in which Jews held the Hebrew language.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; A much more serious problem for Mormons, however, is the justification which is given for writing in Egyptian characters rather than in Hebrew. andnbsp; Moroni, supposedly writing the abridgement on the gold plates which later became the Book of Mormon, explains (Mormon 9:32-33):

32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It appears that Moroni is saying that writing in Hebrew characters would have taken up too much space, and that Egyptian characters were therefore more space-efficient. andnbsp; That is not a credible assertion. andnbsp; Anyone who is familiar even slightly with ancient Hebrew and ancient Egyptian writing must reject that explanation as unbelievable. andnbsp; Hebrew consisted of an alphabet of twenty-two characters, mostly consonants. andnbsp; Most vowels were not written at all, and thus most words could be written with three or four characters, the consonants. andnbsp; "Jehovah" was written YHWH, "Israel" was YSR'L, "Moses" was MSH. andnbsp; In other words, Hebrew is a very concise written language. andnbsp; The only form of Egyptian that a person such as Lehi would have known in 600 B.C. was Hieratic, which was certainly not more space-saving than Hebrew, and would not have been suitable for engraving on metal.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Why then, did the Nephites choose to write in a form of Egyptian? andnbsp; The obvious answer seems to be that Joseph Smith felt he was less likely to be exposed if he showed plates with engravings in a still-undeciphered language (Egyptian) than in a relatively better-known language (Hebrew). andnbsp; To add an additional degree of safety, he claimed that the Egyptian had been "altered." andnbsp; andnbsp; His Egyptian ploy finally caught up with him in the Book of Abraham.

The "Tower of Babel"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; According to the Bible (Gen 11:1-9), at one time the "whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." andnbsp; But because of men's pride, they began to build a tower to reach to heaven, which made God angry, and he therefore "confound[ed] the language of all the earth..." (v. 9)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; These nine verses are a typical "etiological" myth, i.e., a story invented to explain why something is so, much like children's stories called "How the leopard got his spots," "Why the sea is salty," "Why the sky is blue," etc. andnbsp; There are a number of other etiological tales in the Bible, such as the tales to explain why a snake has no legs (Gen. 3), or why we see a rainbow after a storm (Gen.9:13-16).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The point is: the Tower of Babel story is just a story, a myth, an etiological fable. andnbsp; It no more explains the origin of the many languages of the world than does the punishment of Satan explain why snakes have no legs. andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Just as scientists can explain the beautiful phenomenon of the rainbow by using the laws of optics (which undoubtedly existed long before Noah's time), so linguistic scientists can show that the many languages of mankind existed long before the period to which the Tower of Babel can be assigned (Mormons believe the Jaredites made their journey to America about 2200 B.C.). andnbsp; No reputable linguistic scholar today accepts the Tower of Babel story as an explanation for the multiplicity of languages, for their origins, or for the date of their origins. The simple fact is that there are writings in many parts of the ancient world (China, Mesopotamia, Egypt), in widely different languages, dating from a thousand years before the supposed time of the Tower. andnbsp; This uncontroverted fact shows that the Babel story is only a myth. andnbsp; (See, for example, the article "Hamito-Semitic Languages" in The Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., Macr 8:592ff, which gives the dates of the first appearance of those languages: Akkadian, 3200 BC; Canaanite, Ugaritic, Amorite, 3000 BC.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But it is not only the languages of the all the world that supposedly originated at the Tower of Babel, but also all the peoples of the world (Gen 11:8-9)! In other words, in order to accept the story of the Tower as literal and historical, one must believe that there were no other peoples on earth at the time. andnbsp; Such a belief is contrary to everything that we know about the early periods of human history.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If Mormons should suggest that the Tower of Babel must have been therefore much earlier than 2200 B.C., they have the problem that Ether 1:6-33 lists the generations from Jared (who left the Tower) to the last Jaredite, and there are only 28 generations. andnbsp; The last surviving Jaredite (see Omni 1:21) was still alive some time after the Mulekites' arrival in America about 600 B.C. andnbsp; To account for 28 generations between 2200 B.C. and ca. 600 B.C., the average generation would already have to be 60 years apart. andnbsp; To make the "confusion of tongues" a thousand years (or more!) earlier (to account for the Chinese, Egyptians and Sumerians of ca. 4000 B.C.), every Jaredite father listed in the genealogy would have had to be over 120 years old before fathering his oldest child.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Notice also that among the "Jaredite" generations listed in Ether 1 are two Hebrew names, "Aaron" (1:15-16) and "Levi" (1:20-21). andnbsp; And the name "Ephraim" occurs at Ether 7:9. andnbsp; One must ask how such Hebrew names appeared in America, when the Jaredites did not speak Hebrew, but rather a language which had not been confounded.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Most Christians (except for the fundamentalist / evangelical inerrantists) can accept the mythical nature of the Tower of Babel story. andnbsp; They can read it as allegory, an object lesson about human pride. andnbsp; But Mormons must (and do) accept it as literal and historical.

For a more extensive discussion of the problems with belief in the Tower of Babel, see the pertinent section in the article "[Mormonism's] Conflicts with Science" here.

More Mormon Mistranslations

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith was fond of translating individual words, especially Biblical words, and giving them new meanings. andnbsp; He also gave new meanings to many English words he found in the Bible. andnbsp; Few of those new definitions have any linguistic validity.

"Sabaoth" andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This Hebrew term occurs twice in the KJV New Testament (Rom 9:29 and James 5:4) in the phrase "Lord of Sabaoth," where the authors did not translate the Hebrew word, but merely wrote it in Greek letters. This is probably why the KJV translaters also left it in its original Hebrew form. andnbsp; The word occurs several hundred times in the Hebrew Old Testament, where it is translated (correctly) as "hosts", in the phrase "Lord of Hosts." andnbsp; The word is Hebrew 'saba' (sade - beth - aleph) and means "host [military], warfare, service." andnbsp; The plural is made by adding the ordinary Hebrew plural ending '-oth': 'saba-oth'.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But, according to Joseph Smith, Dandamp;C 95:7,

...the Lord of Sabaoth, which is by interpretation, the creator of the first day, the beginning and the end.
"Golgotha" andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This word occurs three times in the Gospels (Matt 27:33, Mark 13:22, John 19:17), as the Aramaic name of the place where Jesus was crucified. andnbsp; Each gospel correctly give
My Cockatrice Problem
Friday, Feb 29, 2008, at 08:01 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
I have been in a long-running discussion with my TBM mother over the BOM. Lately, in response to 'when did you last read it', I have been reading it again. And it is a laugh a minute to the exmo for real. But for many of my comments about anachronisms I get standard apologetic stuff about JS translating old words into modern words familiar to his readers.

But then, about a week into my marathon re-read (OK, I am not normally a slow reader, but it kept putting me to sleep) I came across 2Nephi and the 're-write' of Isaiah which uses the term 'Cockatrice'

I am sure, from my 'dungeons and dragons' days that it is a mythical beast, and should not be mentioned in the bible. So, after a bit of googling, I find that not only was the word 'Cockatrice' coined in England in the middle ages, the whole concept of the Cockatrice dates back to the same era and is due to a mistranslation of a French mistranslation of Pliny for cripes sake.

So Isaiah, whom Nephi was supposedly quoting would never have intended Cockatrice or any mythical beast related to the concept of Cockatrice. He meant 'poisonous serpent' and it would be impossible for JS to choose the archaic word Cockatrice to best represent the concept of poisonous serpent to his 19th century readers.

In 16th century England, somewhat lacking in poisonous snakes, but in the middle of a fad for wierd mythical beasts, Cockatrice was the word chosen by the KJV translators.

There is no way that JS, coming across the Hebrew, Arcadian, reformed Egyptian or whatever version of 'poisonous serpent' would choose Cockatrice (half rooster, half serpent beast with poisonous breath) to best represent the concept for his audience. The fad had long gone, and other than archaic references in the KJV to the heraldic mythical medieval creature, the word would not be in common usage. A cockatrice, using its breath, or in some variants 'gaze', to kill would not even pose a risk to child who put its hand in the Cockatrice's den. Unlike a poisonous serpent which is what originally appeared in Isaiah.

Modern translators use 'asp', 'viper' or 'serpent' or some-such, the only logical translation of Isaiah's original concept.

Cockatrce cannot be explained away as are 'church', 'synagogue', and other anachronisms. The word and concept did not exist before the 12th century and was archaic by the 17th century. A time-limited concept that should not occur in any version of the BOM.

Does anyone have any further info on the Cockatrice problem? I have done a search for apologist explanations to no avail (they are very inflential with the maternal unit).
Official Changes To Book Of Mormon Chapter Headings
Wednesday, Mar 5, 2008, at 06:46 AM
Original Author(s): Boaz And Lidia
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Tommy Tuo-tone Monnyson has been bizzy at the printers!

The Doubleday edition of the Book of Mormon is the most up-to-date edition of the Book of Mormon, and in addition to the changes to the introduction, I count in the neighborhood of 75 changes to chapter headings, both major and minor. The following are some noteworthy ones:

Old Heading - W. of M. 1
Mormon abridges their history onto the plates of Mormon–He inserts the plates of Nephi into the abridgement
New Heading - W. of M. 1
Mormon abridges the large plates of Nephi–He puts the small plates with the other plates

Old Heading - Alma 11
Nephite coinage set forth
New Heading - Alma 11
The Nephite monetary system is set forth

Old Heading - Alma 45
Alma is taken up by the Spirit, even as Moses
New Heading - Alma 45
Alma may have been taken up by the Spirit, even as Moses

Alma 52 - Old Heading
Jacob the Lamanite is slain
Alma 52 - New Heading
Jacob the Zoromite is slain

Mormon 5 - Old Heading
The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people
Mormon 5 - New Heading
Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them

Interesting Perspectives On The Changes To The Book Of Mormon
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Agnostic1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Perspective 1:

There have been calculated to be almost 4000 documentable changes to the BoM in the last 178 years.

That comes out to be an average of approximately around 1 change every other week through out it's history (of course, I am taking into account vacations for the editors).

Assumptions for perspective 1:
  1. 3913 actual changes as noted by the Tanners. Rounded to 4000 to account for any of the newest uncounted "revelations".
  2. 178 years - BoM first edition published in 1830.
  3. Work year used is 48 weeks - Editors would be in Senior positions and it is obviously a taxing and stressful job so they would merit at least 4 weeks vacation per work year.
  4. Equation used.
(4000[number of changes] Divided by 178 [years]) Quantity Divided by 48 [weeks per year]

Perspective 2:

There are 4000 changes in the BoM - Divide that by the 522 pages in the copy I have (4000/522) and you get an average of 7.66 changes per page. Or, you can look at it this way; (522/4000) you would only have to travel an average of .13 pages to encounter a change.

Assumptions for perspective 2.
  1. The copy I have: BoM Copyright 1920 - renewed 1948. 522 pages.
  2. 3913 actual changes as noted by Tanners. Rounded to 4000 to account for any uncounted newest "revelations".
Perspective 3.

Compare the results of Perspective 1 and Perspective 2 to the number of changes needed to the book "The Origin of Species" (1859) by C. Darwin (which BTW, Charles never claimed to be a perfect book).

Assumptions for perspective 3.
  1. "On the origin of species by means of natural selection". Published 1859. The copy I have is the 1st edition (which is STILL available and is the same book as the one published by J. Murray, London in 1859). Some subsequent publishers have added additional Drawings from Darwin himself (I am sure he would not object).
  2. Equation used to calculate the changes - NONE required.
Perspective 4.

Compare the influence, effect and reliability of the BoM with "The Origin of Species" - Two books from about the same time period.
  1. Darwin's work is still used in it's original form (the 1st edition) - The 1830 BoM cannot be used (even by the church).
  2. Darwin's work has been validated by every branch of science for the last 150 years - The BoM has not been validated by any science in the last 178 years.
  3. Darwin's work has been dissected and examined by all of the scientific and religious communities in the world and has yet to have been refuted by anyone - The BoM can be pretty easily refuted by high school kids with only an elementary passing knowledge of science and history.
  4. Darwin's work has provided the basis for a large portion of almost all of the modern medicine in the world - the BoM has provided nothing that mankind can use (with the possible exception of a good giggle).
  5. Darwin's work has provided the basis to accurately predict countless useful things in biology and medicine and many other fields of endeavor - the BoM has no predictive capacity in any identifiable area.
  6. Darwin's work has opened up and contributed a vast understanding of history - the BoM has no reliable historical information.
  7. Darwin's work really has needed no changes to maintain it's current value as a viable reference for everyone - The BoM has required constant attention and revision in order to contain any value as a current reference for anyone.
  8. This list could go on nearly ad-infinitum ...
Wow, The BoM, being the so-called "most correct book", must be an evolving process and a never ending project of improving perfection through natural selection.
The Lost 116 Pages Show That Joseph Lied About The Book Of Mormon
Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 08:33 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
In 1828, Martin Harris, acting as scribe for Joseph Smith, recorded the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. He asked permission of Joseph Smith to let him borrow these pages to take home with him so he could show them to his wife. Martin’s wife was very skeptical and feared that her wealthy husband was being conned out of his money in order to get the Book of Mormon published for Joseph. Joseph inquired of the Lord to know if he might do as Martin Harris had requested, but was refused. Joseph inquired again, but received a second refusal. Still, Martin Harris persisted as before, and Joseph applied again, but the last answer was not like the two former ones. In this the Lord permitted Martin Harris to take the manuscript home with him. Three weeks later Mr. Harris returned to Joseph and told him that he had lost the 116 pages.

Joseph was very distraught over this, exclaiming "Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned." It is widely believed that Martin Harris’ wife had taken the pages. The reasoning was that if Joseph was indeed a prophet he could retranslate those same pages exactly as before and that would prove he was actually translating instead of just making up the Book of Mormon story as he dictated to Martin. Finally, Joseph inquired of the Lord as to what he should do; in response, he received a revelation, which is recorded in section 10 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was told that he should not retranslate those lost pages because Satan’s cunning plan was to have evil men alter the words in the original translation and wait until Joseph retranslated those pages. The evil men would then produce the original lost 116 pages with the alterations to prove that Joseph was a fraud.

God, of course, knew of Satan’s eventual plan and had Nephi make two sets of plates that cover essentially the same material but written a little differently. Joseph was instructed to now translate from the large plates of Nephi, instead of the smaller, abridged plates of Nephi that he had translated from earlier. This way the same basic information that should be included in the Book of Mormon was there, but it would not be expected to match exactly the original lost 116 pages that were first translated by Joseph.

The official story taught and recorded by the church is non-sensical for the following reasons:

1) The evil men that were conspiring to alter the original documents could not have done so without it being very obvious that the original document was altered. When Martin Harris was scribing for Joseph, he didn’t use a pencil and paper. Martin wrote with ink on foolscap. Any alteration would be very noticeable and not convincing to anyone.

In addition to the rubbing out of old words and rewriting of new words, the handwriting would have been different. Any rudimentary handwriting inspection would have determined that it had been altered, especially easy to determine given that the new handwriting would have occurred in the same spot as the rubbed out and re-written words.

2) If the evil men that were planning on changing the stolen 116 pages thought their plan of changing some words from these pages would work to discredit Joseph they would not have been completely foiled by Joseph translating from different plates to tell the first part of the Book of Mormon story. If they thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed then they would have still tried to alter the 116 pages to discredit his work.

For example, they could have changed some names of people or places or altered events that are central to the beginning of the Book of Mormon and thereby prove that Joseph’s new translation was in error. If they really thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed they could have changed the names of Nephi’s brothers or the cities they came from or many other items that would have been included in both sets of plates. But they never did this – why? If opponents of the Church really had the lost 116 pages as Joseph claimed they would have resurfaced in some form to at least attempt to discredit Joseph, even if they would not have been successful.

3) The general belief at the time was that Martin Harris’s wife burned the 116 pages. If she destroyed them, then this entire story is simply made up by Joseph Smith. But the prophet Joseph evidently was afraid she had not, but had secretly hidden them, for the purpose of entrapping him, should he ever attempt to reproduce the pages. If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake. If, however, Joseph created it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences–and thus "give himself away," since he loudly professed to be all the time aided "by the gift and power of God." Since the lost pages never surfaced in any form, it is likely that they were destroyed immediately by Martin Harris’s wife. Therefore, the entire story about someone altering pages is impossible and just made up by Joseph because he knew he could not reproduce those same pages as he was not really translating the Book of Mormon story.

4) It is convenient that the prophets of old just happened to make an extra set of plates 1500 years ago to cover this contingency, isn’t it? For further details:

It’s hard to believe that Satan and some evil men were really behind the plot to steal the 116 pages. The stolen pages would have eventually come forth in probably a failed attempt to discredit Joseph. If nothing else they would have been worth a lot of money so we can’t imagine why the evil men, if they existed, would not have used the pages to either try to discredit Smith, ransom them to Martin and Joseph or hold on to them to eventually sell them. The stolen pages wouldn’t have simply been destroyed by men who went to such trouble to obtain them.

Instead it seems much more plausible that Martin Harris’ wife had immediately destroyed the pages to defy her husband. If that’s the case, is there any other reason why Joseph would make up the story about Satan’s plan to discredit him? I haven’t found any members that can explain Joseph’s actions with a reasonable explanation.

To learn more about the Lost 116 Pages:
Most Damning Verse Contest: Questioning The Validity Of The Book Of Mor[m]on!
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008, at 08:44 AM
Original Author(s): Flattopsf
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
The "What is the worst story in the BoM?" thread got me going! I probably gave up on the validity of those stories before I even began to question the validity of the book itself. But I've done a little reading in the meanwhile...and I think it would be fun to come up with a list of what we might call Sneaky Joe's Freudian Slips.

Rule for The Most Damning Verse Contest: assuming that modern scientific, anthropological, archaeological, linguistic, metallurgical, etc. knowledge is correct, which verse[s] in the BoM most damn the validity of the BoM for you and why?

Here's mine: 1 Nephi 1:2...for me the whole book falls completely apart right there: I have to award it the Worst Historical and Linguistic Verse!

Even 175 years ago any real Biblical scholar who was paying attention knew that in 600BC the people living in Palestine didn't refer to themselves as "Jews" (Yehudim) unless they were members of the Southern Kingdom Tribe of Judah (Yehudah ?????). The first usage of the term to designate Hebrews or Israelites in general is believed to have been in the Book of Esther, which takes place more than two hundred years AFTER Lehi's Promised Land Import and Export Co., Inc. uprooted themselves and departed Jerusalem.

The word "Jew" as we use it today (being applied to a group of Hebrews or Israelites, etc.) didn't exist until the end of the first millennium CE (per Wikipedia):

>>The most common view is that the Middle English word Jew is from the Old French giu, earlier juieu, from the Latin Iudaeus from the Greek ????????. The Latin simply means Judaean, from the land of Judaea. In the Old English the word is attested as early as 1000 [Current Era] in various forms, such as Iudeas, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw, Iew (the letter "J" did not commonly appear in use until the Late Middle Ages).

So was Smith "translating" "Reformed Egyptian" into Greek into Latin into English?!? It seems ludicrous! Of course Mor[m]on apologists will (and have) claimed that Smith was just making things easier to understand for all us modern-day illiterates...but why then "translate" into ye olde 16th-century Court English of King James I? Why not Early 19th-century English?

Then there's that whole "Reformed Egyptian" crap...Smith claimed that he translated the book from Reformed Egyptian to Ye Olde Englishe. By putting his face into a hat and breathing his own fetid breath. He would have done better by moving to Paris, France and putting his nose into some scholarly books!

There are three problems with Smith's claim:

First, WHY would the ancient Hebrews, who had their own written language well before 1000 BCE, resort to using or developing some variation of Egyptian hieroglyphics? The Egyptians had already been considered the hereditary enemies of the Hebrews for over 1,000 years at the supposed time that the fictional Nephi begins his writing. Why would any educated person living in Jerusalem in 600BCE resort to inventing an all-new completely unique writing system based on the language and hieroglyphs of an hereditary enemy? This just doesn't make sense!

Second, even if we override the unlikelihood of the first, Smith was in both the wrong place and the wrong time to be in any position to DECIPHER Egyptian of any sort, whether it was the three documented forms of REAL Egyptian hieroglyphs OR his "Jewish"-style "Reformed Egyptian".

Jean François Champollion (1790-1832) published three groundbreaking works on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs: "Lettre à M. Dacier" (1822), "Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens" (1824), and "Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens ou Recherches sur les éléments premiers de cette écriture sacrée, sur leurs diverses combinaisons, et sur les rapports de ce système avec les autres méthodes graphiques égyptiennes" (1828). Though these were published BEFORE Smith began "translating" his Book of Mor[m]on, there are two facts that are problematic: 1) they were written in French, a language Smith could neither speak or read; 2) no English-language copies of Champollion's publications were available to Smith before the 1830 publication of his Book of Mormon. Therefore, Smith could not possibly have legitimately translated "Reformed" OR ANY OTHER kind of Egyptian texts.

Third, again overriding the unlikelihood of the first and second problems, how could Smith have "MOST CORRECT"-ly "translated" "Reformed Egyptian" in 1830 but made such demonstrably bad mistakes on his second foray into translating REAL Egyptian in 1842? This demonstrates that even if texts on Egyptian hieroglyphs were available to Smith by 1842, he must have completely disregarded them. The profoundly and ridiculously inaccurate Book of Abraham proves from an etymological, linguistic, and anthropological point of view that the Book of Mor[m]on is merely a fraudulently presented fabrication of Joseph Smith, Junior, probably in partnership with as yet un-revealed (**smirk**) individuals.
The Book Of Mormon Introduction At Has Been Changed To Incorporate The "One-Word" Change
Sunday, Dec 28, 2008, at 09:22 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
The ‘one-word’ change in the BoM Introduction that garnered media attention in January and caused a 'loss of faith' among believing Latter-day Saints has now been incorporated into the BoM Introduction on the LDS Church’s scriptures website. The new (current) version states:

“The book [BoM] was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” (see the 2nd para. at

To briefly review:

For more than a generation, as many Mormons and former Mormons remember, the BoM ‘truth’ was that the Lamanites were “the principal ancestors of the American Indians”, as the BoM Introduction in the 1981 edition, for example, said.

Joseph Smith, ‘translator’ of the BoM, declared the following in his 1842 letter to John Wentworth, Editor, and Proprietor of the Chicago Democrat:

“In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.” (ref.

Over the years, I have contacted the Anthropology Department of various universities to inquire if there is any genetic, archaeological, linguistic or other type of evidence supporting the LDS Church’s teaching that American Indians are descendants of a group of Jews that sailed from the Middle East and arrived in the Americas nearly 2,600 years ago. The answer has always been that there is none.

Interestingly, in his Wentworth Letter, Smith mentioned nothing about using a magical rock – a ‘seer’ stone – in his hat and covering his face with his hat to ‘translate the BoM (no gold plate in the hat, either). People can read about this bizarre form of ‘translation’ in LDS Apostle Russell Nelson’s article, “A Treasured Testament”, in the July 1993 issue of the Ensign, which is online at
The Book Of Mormon Vs Mormonism
Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Most people - Mormons and non-Mormons alike - assume that the Mormon religion is based on its holy book, the Book of Mormon and that by reading that book one can learn what Mormonism is all about. andnbsp; Mormon missionaries usually try to get prospective converts ("investigators") to read it as soon as possible, implying that by doing so the investigator will get an accurate idea of Mormonism.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Although the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830 was the impetus for the founding of the Mormon church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Mormonism is not rooted doctrinally in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; It is used primarily for faith-inspiring stories, not for doctrine, even though God (through Joseph Smith) declared that it contains "the fulness of the Gospel" (Dandamp;C 20:9). andnbsp; Its doctrinal content is quite representative of wide-spread Christian beliefs in Joseph Smith's day. andnbsp; Many of its doctrines are now ignored or have been abandoned by the church, and many other doctrines have been adopted, as the following summary shows:

Abbreviations Used
Dandamp;C - Doctrine and Covenants
DoS - Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith (3 volumes)
JoD - Journal of Discourses (26 volumes)
MD - Mormon Doctrine, 2d edition, by Bruce R. McConkie
TJS - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Citations under "Book of Mormon" are to its various books
Mormon DoctrineBook of Mormon
Heaven consists of three levels or "glories"; evil people go to the lowest, "hell" (Dandamp;C 76:81-90), the glory of which "surpasses all understanding. Only Mormon apostates do not go to heaven, but to "outer darkness" (Dandamp;C 76:31-39) Only two possible fates after death: heaven or hell. Levels or degrees of heaven are not mentioned.
Jesus and God the Father are separate beings. (Dandamp;C 130:22) Jesus and God the Father are the same. (Mosiah 3:8, 15:1-5, Ether 4:7, 12)
God has a body of flesh and bones. (Dandamp;C 130:22) God is a spirit. (Alma 18:26-28)
God was once a man like us, and progressed to godhood. (TJS 342-345) God does not change and has never changed. (Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18)
There are many gods. (TJS 370-373) There is only one God. (Alma 11:28-30)
We can become gods ourselves. (Dandamp;C 76:58, TJS 342-345) No mention of this idea.
We lived with God in a spirit world (a "premortal existence") before being born into this life. (Dandamp;C 49:17, 93:23-29, 138:55-56) No mention of this idea.
God is the literal father of our spirits, conceived by him and our "Mother in Heaven" (MD 516) No mention of this idea.
Mary conceived Jesus by natural means, namely, God the Father impregnated her. (MD 546-47, JoD 1:50-51, 8:115, 11:268) Mary conceived Jesus "by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Alma 7:10), by being "carried away in the spirit" (1 Nephi 11:15-19)
Those who do not accept the gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death, and can receive baptism by proxy (Dandamp;C 127, 128) Salvation must be attained in this life; after one dies it is too late (Alma 34:34, 2 Nephi 9:38, Mosiah 2:36-39). No mention of baptism for the dead.
David and Solomon did nothing wrong by having many wives. (Dandamp;C 132:38-39) The polygamy of David and Solomon was "abominable" to the Lord (Jacob 2:24)
Priesthood divided into an upper (" after the order of Melchizedek") and lower ("Aaronic") priesthood No distinction between "priests" and "high priests"; priesthood is "after the order of [the Son of] God" (Alma 4:20, 13:1-12). No mention of "Aaronic" priesthood.
Salvation in the highest heaven ("exaltation") requires undergoing the "endowment" initiation ceremony in a temple, the details of which are kept strictly secret. The participants are required to take numerous oaths, which are also secret. "Secret combinations" requiring secret oaths are condemned. (Mormon 8:27, 40, 2 Nephi 26:22, Helaman 6:22, and many others.) No mention of any such ritual as part of the gospel. No mention of "exaltation" or "endowment."
Exaltation requires marriage in a Mormon temple. (Dandamp;C 131:1-4) No mention of this doctrine.
"Celestial marriage" lasts for time and all eternity. (DoS 2:58 ff) No mention of this doctrine.
The "first resurrection" is only for the righteous. (Dandamp;C 76:64. 63:18) The "first resurrection" is for all who died before Christ's resurrection, righteous and unrighteous alike (Mosiah 15:24, Alma 40:16-17)
The "idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart" is false. (Dandamp;C 130:31; verse 22 says that it is the Holy Ghost that "dwell[s] in us") "The Lord" dwells in the hearts of the righteous. (Alma 34:36)
The Lord's Supper ("the sacrament") consists of bread and water. The Lord's Supper should consist of bread and wine. (3 Nephi 18:1-9, Moroni 5)
Only the priest blessing the sacrament kneels. The priest is to kneel with the church while blessing the sacrament. (Moroni 4:2; see also Dandamp;C 20:76)
Use of alcohol, coffee, tea ("hot drinks") is forbidden. (Dandamp;C 89) No such commandment.
Church is governed by the three men of the "First Presidency," higher in authority than the Quorum of Twelve. Jesus placed twelve disciples over the church he founded in America. (3 Nephi 12, passim) No "first presidency" mentioned.
Except for Joseph Smith, all prophets are promoted to that office by those above them in rank, and by seniority. They work their way up to the top. Prophets are called directly by God.
The church is trying to befriend people of other religions with the message "All churches have some truth"; "The church has always extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to those of other faiths, and will continue to do so." There are two churches only: the true church and the "church of the devil," "the whore of Babylon" (1 Nephi 14:10-12). A church which seeks to become "popular in the eyes of the world" is of the devil. (1 Nephi 22:23)
Since 1978 the church claims that it is not racist, that all races are equal and that the color of a person's skin has no religious significance. A dark skin is a curse from God, a punishment for one's unrighteousness (or the unrighteousness of one's ancestors). A dark skin can become light through righteousness. (1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Mormon 5:15, Jacob 3:8-9, 3 Nephi 2:15)
The church teaches that faith, repentance, baptism are the "first principles" of the gospel, but that in order to obtain the highest degree of heaven, much more is required (obedience, tithes, endowment, etc.) Christ says that the gospel is faith, repentance, baptism ONLY. Any teaching beyond that will lead to hell 3 Nephi 11:31-40


andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Many Mormons have never read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, and are perhaps unaware at how the doctrines of their church differ so drastically from the teachings of their own basic scripture, which - according to their eighth "Article of Faith" - they believe to be the word of God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; When confronted with these fundamental differences (and even contradictions) their first line of defense is to claim that the Mormon church is a church of "continuing revelation" (ninth Article of Faith), that being the purpose of a living prophet. andnbsp; This overlooks the fact that the Book of Mormon was said by God to contain the "fulness" of the Gospel. andnbsp; Some Mormon apologists claim that "fulness" does not mean "complete," but rather "fundamentals," or "basics," and that the Book of Mormon does contain the "first principles" of faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. andnbsp; This argument fails when seeing the meaning of "fulness" as used in other Mormon scriptures, where it does, indeed, mean "complete," "nothing lacking," "nothing left out."

© 2005 Richard Packham
The Criddle Study-A Critical Review
Monday, Feb 9, 2009, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Reed Smith
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
There has been a lot of interest in the recent article by Craig Criddle, Matthew L. Jockers, and Daniela M. Witten, entitled “Reassessing Authorship Of The Book Of Mormon Using Delta And Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification.” This title is a mouthful, however the article essentially attempts to offer support for the Spaulding-Rigdon theory for authorship of the Book of Mormon through the use of “wordprint” analysis, or “linguistic signals.” This conclusion, of course, undermines the Mormon claim that the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith, let alone ancient authors. It is therefore natural for ex-Mormons to rally around this article as further evidence in support of the general conclusion that Mormonism is a fraud. However, least we succumb to the tactics of Mormon apologists, such articles should be both carefully presented, and carefully considered, before jumping on the bandwagon of thoughtless acceptance and exuberant glee.

Let me be clear at the outset that I am a “hardcore” ex-Mormon with no sympathy for the claim that the Book of Mormon is divine, or an ancient record. Moreover, for historical reasons, I do have some sympathy for the Spaulding-Ridgon authorship theory, however I have not made up my mind as to whether Joseph Smith could have written it himself. For me, the jury is still out on this issue.

Notwithstanding the above, and for reasons discussed below, I believe that the Criddle study is deeply flawed, and does NOT support the conclusion stated above. (Note: I refer to it as the Criddle study because notwithstanding the obvious contributions of the other authors, he is clearly the driving force behind the study and its conclusions.) My conclusion in this regard is based solely upon my own careful reading of the article. I have not read any commentaries, pro or con, beyond the article itself.

The conclusion reached by the Criddle article is stated in one place as follows:

“The prominence of the Ridgon and Spaulding signals are significant and provide strong support for the Spaulding-Rigdon authorship theory: that Ridgon acquired one or more manuscripts written by Spaulding and then modified them, by incorporating his own theology, to create the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon.” (Page12)

Put simply, the Criddle study is based upon a computer analysis that compares the word uses of seven proposed authors to the text of the Book of Mormon. (For purposes of this post I will focus on the NSC procedure) The study is said to identify the “relative probability” that any one of the proposed authors is the author of a particular chapter in the Book of Mormon. We can (and must) note at the outset that here the word “relative” refers to the limitations imposed by the narrowness of the choices. Thus, the probability that any one of the proposed authors is the actual author is weighed only against that probably of any of the other proposed authors being the author. It is therefore highly misleading to suggest from this study the conclusion that there is any established statistical probability that any of the proposed authors is the actual author of the chapter in question, independent of the sample. That would require a much broader sampling (if it could be done at all), and would certainly have to include Joseph Smith, the claimed author. In the several statements in the article as to conclusions reached by the study, the word “relative” is irresponsibly omitted, leaving the false impression that the probability estimates have a universal application rather than a relative application as indicated above.

The Criddle study excludes Joseph Smith as a possible author by claiming for various reasons that there is no reliable sample of his writings. In my judgment this is feeble, and unjustified excuse to exclude the most important potential author of the Book of Mormon. First, however difficult and questionable, there are reasonable criteria that could be established to select appropriate writings by Joseph Smith, starting with his handwritten letters and journal entries. The importance of including JS in the study far outweigh the excuses to exclude him. The difficulties in selecting appropriate writing samples could have and should have been addressed with a footnote, not with exclusion. By excluding JS, the study simply cannot rule him out as the author of the BofM, simply because had he been included, the study might well have found that the probably of his authorship, as compared to the other seven, was statistically higher. Let me suggest an example:

Suppose one wanted to use the NSC model to determine who wrote the book View of the Hebrews. We might set this up by selecting the same authors used in the Criddle study, leaving out Ethan Smith (the actual author). Just like the Criddle study, we then mathematically select our test words to a manageable number. With a potentially new word list, we would have to once again “train” the program to establish the lowest recognition error rate for each author. Then, we could submit each chapter of View of the Hebrews to determine the relative probability that each such author wrote this book. Whatever the results, we could probably conclude that one proposed author, say Spaulding, had a higher probability of being the author of View of the Hebrews than any of the other authors. We could then announce that this supports the view that Spaulding was the author of the book. But, of course, any such conclusion, regardless of the results, would have no logical force against Ethan Smith as being the author of the book, since he was excluded from the study. Arguably, had he been included, his probability rating would have been extremely high, well above the other authors, since he in fact wrote the book. If not, it would only point to a major flaw in the research program, and not to a question about his authorship.

We can apply this same logic to the original purpose of the NSC, as stated in the Criddle article. Here the classifications are cancer subtypes, and the data is gene expression measurements for cancer tumors. The idea, presumably, is to be able to appropriately classify the characteristics of a cancer tumor into a cancer subtype for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. Consider, however, the result if a major cancer classification, say melanoma, was left out. Obviously, what would happen would be that no vector centroids would point to the missing classification. Instead, the probability assignments would be spread out over those subtypes that were included, with various probability scores. There would be no way of knowing whether the data would have pointed to the missing subclassification had it been included. Moreover, no universal probability conclusions could be drawn beyond the limited classification samples themselves. This shows that with the NSC methodology it is essential that the classifications accurately reflect legitimate and meaningful classifications. Leaving out a relevant classification undermines the study completely.

In response to the above, someone might argue that the linguistic “signals” established by NSC provide independent evidence of authorship beyond the “relative” probabilities discussed above. In other words, it might be argued that we can assign some meaningful probability for a Spaudling-Rigdon authorship, either mathematically or intuitively, even though JS was left out. This is incorrect because the assumption that one of the seven potential authors is the actual author of the B of M is built into the NSC methodology. This is because the basis of the whole system, i.e. the word selection list, is directly tied to the word frequencies of these individual authors. If JS were included, or someone else, the word list might be significantly different, which would eschew the results. Thus, of necessity, the final probability assignments assume that there are no other legitimate, potential authors, an assumption which is patently false in the present case.

There is much more to criticize here, but I will end with one final point. The Criddle article states that the NSC and delta methods agree on the first place probability assignment only 62% of the time. (Page 8) I am not impressed by this statistic. If both methods have validity, I would expect there to be broader agreement. The 93 % agreement for the combined first and second place assignments seems, in my view, weak, especially considering that there were really only four plausible alternatives.

As stated above, the authors conclude that the study provides “strong support” for the Spaulding-Rigdon authorship theory. This statement is simply false. Until the classifications are set up properly–to include JS and perhaps others–no conclusion can be drawn in this regard. At best, the study supports the conclusion: “If in fact one of the seven authors identified in the study did indeed write the Book of Mormon, it is probable that it was either Sidney Rigdon, Solomon Spaulding, or perhaps a combination of the two.” But even this conclusion, as weak as it is, is open to challenge.

I am not a statistician, or a computer programmer. The above seems to me to be rather simple logic flowing from the Criddle article itself. If I am wrong in the above analysis, I am certainly open to rethinking my opinion; if someone would care to point out my error.
Message In A Bottle: The Maritime Myth Of The Book Of Ether
Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009, at 09:49 AM
Original Author(s): Drwilson
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
I am an avid sailor. Recently I was looking at possible routing for a passage in the South Pacific. While I had the charts out showing prevailing winds and ocean currents, I decided to see if I could plot a reasonable route (or even a possible route) for the Jaredites from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere.

Jaredite Vessels: In considering possible routes, it is important to keep in mind that the seagoing vessels of the Jaredites were not described as having sails. In fact according to the Book of Ether, they were constructed as semi-submersibles. They were described as capable of being capsized by large waves and remaining intact as “holes were made in the top and in the bottom”, which holes could be plugged to prevent water from entering the vessel. (It should be noted that no wooden semi-submersible has ever been successfully demonstrated in the modern era. From a marine architecture standpoint, such a vessel would be very difficult if not impossible to build and maintain leak-free at sea for almost one year. But I digress.)

The vessels were “the length of a tree” and were sealed tightly top and bottom “like unto a dish”. The occupants or crew stayed inside these closed vessels and, when necessary, opened one or more air holes for ventilation. These ships had no means of propulsion. They depended on ocean currents to carry them from the Middle East to the New World. The book of Ether says that they could be “steered”.

“O Lord, in them there is no light; whether shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish" (Ether 2:19).

No Power Means No Steering: I had never thought about this before with regard to the Book of Ether, but here is a nautical fact: in order for any vessel to be steered, it must have some means of moving relative to the water around it. A vessel without some kind of power (sails, oars, or an engine and screw) cannot be steered. It can move in no other way than as carried by the wind and currents. Since there was relatively little freeboard (vertical hull above the waterline), the effects of the wind would not have been significant for this vessel design. When it comes to marine navigation, these vessels (had they existed at all) would have been little more than large pieces of driftwood.

Given Ocean Currents Direction and Speed, the Jaredite Journey, as Described in the BoE, is not Possible: Review of the ocean surface currents along any possible route from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere shows that such a voyage as described in Ether is impossible based on ocean surface current characteristics alone. You can get some idea of what the navigational charts look like with regard to ocean surface currents at:

Considering a Westerly Transit: As is postulated for the voyage of Nephi, the Jaredite departure would have had to have been from the south end of the Arabian Peninsula. The Med is a “bathtub”, void of currents necessary for a direct Middle East to Western hemisphere crossing of the Atlantic. Even if they had made it out of the Med, as they approached the eastern seaboard of North America, the strong Gulf Stream would have picked them up and kept them at least 4 miles offshore until they were well into the North Atlantic, where the North Atlantic Drift would have brought them back to Europe.

Launching from somewhere in eastern part of present day Oman would have put them in the Agulhas current, which would have carried them down to the tip of Africa. Had they been able to transit to the Benguella current (highly unlikely) , they would have had to next transit to the Northern branch of the Equatorial current (again highly unlikely) which would have eventually sent them into the Caribbean South of Haiti. This is a journey on the order of some 12,000 to 14,000 miles.

Not Enough Time to Make the Trip: If the journey took 344 days as described, this means that that they would have had to travel at an average speed of approximately 2 miles per hour, or 48 miles per day. Except for the Gulf Stream, all other currents they could have possibly encountered on this routing move at a rate of less than 5-6 miles per day. At these average speeds, the journey would have required about 8 years, wind or no wind.

It is of interest that when the winds blow along the East Coast of Africa, the Aguhla current gives rise to sea conditions so severe that any number of large commercial vessels have been lost along this route. In fact this stretch of water accounts for more ships lost than any other commercial sea lane, and is slowly being abandoned because of this problem. The chances of wooden vessels surviving this part of the passage in strong wind would be slim indeed (yet we read the winds "did never cease to blow towards the promised land") . The chances of the group of vessels staying together in such a storm would be zero. (And as for winds 'always blowing toward the promised land', just have a look at the prevailing surface winds chart for the global oceans sometime.)

Easterly Transit Highly Unlikely: Launching from anywhere on the southern Arabian Peninsula it would be very unlikely that they could have headed in an easterly direction. They would have had catch the southern portion of the Equatorial countercurrent flowing east. Even if they had they done so, the chances of them “drifting” through complex narrow passages and channels between Australia and Southeast Asia into the Pacific Ocean are essentially zero. (Just look at the map and currents). And had they, by some miracle, made it to the Pacific Basin, they would have been carried north with first landfall in the Western Hemisphere somewhere in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.

Directly Relevant Data on Drifting Objects: “In 1929 a crew of German scientists set out to track the journey of one particular bottle. It was set to sea in the South Indian Ocean with a note inside asking the finder to record the location where it washed up and to throw it back into the sea. By 1935 it had rounded the world and traveled approximately sixteen thousand miles, the longest distance officially recorded.” (Note: This bottle was released near or directly into the relatively fast moving Antarctic Circumpolar current to give it the best chance of circling the globe, which it eventually did. Currents that would have taken an object from Oman to the Caribbean are much slower.)

A Thought Experiment: The chances of keeping a flotilla of vessels together, without power, for 344 days, are vanishingly small. Try this thought experiment. Imagine that you went to southern Oman and launched between three and seven large pieces of driftwood into the water. Would you expect to find that all of your pieces of driftwood had washed ashore, at about the same place, and at about the same time, anywhere in the western hemisphere within one year (or ever)? Right.

Mahonri Moriancumr Better than Magellan?: These difficulties with the story are in addition to those of the animals we are told were on board (including elephants) and the problem of provisioning (food and water), etc. If you want to get some idea of the dangers of extended sea voyages before the advent of modern sailing vessels and navigation, consider the voyages of Magellan. He was an experienced seaman with a well trained navigator and the best equipment available in his day. Of the 237 men who started his voyage to circumnavigate (with sail powered vessels), only 37 survived. Magellan was not among them.

The Book of Ether is Bad Fiction: Within about one half hour, I demonstrated to myself how ridiculous portions of the Book of Mormon really are. I convinced myself, beyond any reasonable doubt, based on hard science (oceanography, geography, and meteorology), that the Book of Ether is pure fiction, and bad fiction at that.
"Standing For Something More", By Lyndon Lamborn
Monday, Apr 20, 2009, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Bob Mccue
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
“Standing for Something More”, by Lyndon Lamborn

I am current reading Lyndon’s book. Well worth the effort. It is the best, and simplest, summary I have seen of the social-psychological explanation as to why smart, good people are routinely unable to see the problems with their belief system, and then the difficulty of the terrain one experiences as one attempts to leave a close-knit social group.

I particularly like the way in which Lyndon wove his own story into a summary of academic material related to social psychology, epistemology, etc. That makes the whole package easier to digest.

There are of course lots of things in the book that those who want to criticize can. But overall, well worth the effort to read, and particularly so for people who are just starting this journey into new head space.
Book Of Mormon Stories Your Mama Didn't Teach You!
Friday, May 1, 2009, at 08:23 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Information is power!


"A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts Church Historian (1857-1933), Deseret Book Co., 1930.

Most of these early accounts are in Vol 1. I own the whole set in paperback which I purchased in the late 70s before they were discontinued --another interesting story of how I found them many years later in the Institute library just sitting on the shelf and not cataloged, with my name in them.

"A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts VOL 1 "How the Book of Mormon was Obtained" (These books are in the LDS Data base on CD, also in their libraries (Ward/Stake/Institute of Religion) in the REFERENCE section.)

A few notes: B H Roberts says that they were dressed "for riding" by taking the horse and spring wagon of Mr. Knight (some would call this stealing, as they did not ask permission of Mr. Knight who was a guest in his home) and went to the "hill Cumorah, and in he presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.

pg. 87, "Early the next morning, Mr. Knight discovered both his horse and wagon were gone, suspected some "rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way."

When Joseph returned home, he took his mother aside and showed her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates...he seemed to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record."

The next chapter is entitled: pg. 88 Other Psychics Than the Prophet

"The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra."

He had previously asked Lucy (his mother) very early in the morning if she had a chest with a lock and key but she could not locate one.

This is the reason Joseph pg. 86 "concealed them temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed .....carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit ...the plates, ...they were deposited in the cavity, the bark drawn together again and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated."

Pg 93 - "The Breastplate of Urim and Thummim

"It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of the ancient American peoples was engrave, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached.

This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to a statement by Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon and after remaining a a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house.

On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oilcloth for painting - it will be remembered that this was an art she has followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs.

To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came downstairs and entered the room where he was whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast plate herein alluded to.

'It was wrapped in a a thin muslin handkerchief,' she explains, 'so thin that I could feel it's proportions without any difficulty'.

It was concave on one side, convex on the other and extended from the neck downwards as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips.

They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them). and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummin." [paragraphs added for ease in reading]"

Troubles keeping the Nephite Record out of nefarious hands of other psychics.)

Vol 1 Pg 90 Was the Nephrite Record in Danger He goes on.....

These reflections indulged, we may now return to the statement with which they began-viz,Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra. A Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, the Methodist class elder, already mentioned, had for some time been accredited with psychic powers of the mind, and practiced "crystal-gazing;" and besides this , remarkable as it may seem, parties in the neighborhood of the smith home, numbering some ten or twelve men sent a distance of sixty or seventy miles for a psychic-"conjuror" they called him --to come to Palmyra and to discover the whereabouts of "Joe Smith's gold bible."

The elder Smith learned of the arrival of this person at the home of Willard Chase, and heard him boast in the presence of his employers that he would "have them plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell."

The day after taking possession of the Nephite record, the young Prophet was offered the job of digging a well for Mrs. Wells, of Macedon, a village some three miles west of Palmyra, and the family standing much in need of the money promised for the work, Joseph immediately accepted the employment...However, he never finished because of the threat of the other "conjurer" on his trail.

This is the beginning of the tale of how Joseph came back and assured his father and family that the record was saFe, was hidden near the home and Hyrum gave him a chest, with a lock and key and Joseph wrapped them in a farmer's "smock. and then he went through the woods .."his enemies were evidently on the watch for him, for three times he was assaulted by as many different persons; but being strong and athletic by dint of blows and flight he threw them off and finally reached home utterly exhausted from the excitement and the fatigue."

This is when he got his father and Mr Knight and Mr Stoal to search for the assailants (which was fruitless) and Hyrum came with the cheST with the lock and key.

"It seems that in knocking down his third assailant, Joseph had dislocated his thumb ....and he requested his father to put it in place. Joseph then remained at home with his family to secure the sacred record entrusted to him where he worked on the farm with his brothers."


Yup. That's plausible! Sure it is! But the people close to Joseph believed him wholeheartedly!

In my experience, it would be hard to find two Mormons who knew any of this history or the different statements from early history. As a member I would have not been one of those two members! Even though I was more informed than many, I learned most of this info on my way out of the church.

From the faith induced spiritual witness testimony bearing members, none of this is important. It is, in their probably answer, not necessary for their salvation. While it is interesting, and as we "were not there" as they often say, it just shows that "God Works in Mysterious Ways His Wonders to Perform"!

The details of how it was done doesn't matter to a testimony bearing Mormon, only that Joseph Smith Jr was the prophet chosen by Jesus Christ to Restore the only True Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days to usher in the Last Dispensation with the keys to the saving ordinances.

That's it in a nut shell. The actual history and different accounts have no bearing on that "spiritual witness" of "I know" it's true.

If it isn't "faith promoting" it's not good for anything!

Also, that stone trick is not believable. Martin Harris could not find a stone to fool Joseph Smith Jr. No two stones are alike anyhow.

Two Reference LINKS (Dozens more on the Internet) Witnesses - visionary

Running with the plates:

Feel free to add other stories and references the average Mormon today does not know about the Book of Mormon.
New Method For The Analysis Of Text And DNA Sequences - Applied To Book Of Mormon
Friday, May 29, 2009, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Craigc
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
A group at UC Berkeley led by chemist Sung-Hou Kim has developed a new method for analysis of “feature frequency profiles” (FFP) that enables comparison and classification of linear information. They have used it for authorship analysis in the case of a work often attributed to Shakespeare (Pericles), classification of major literary works (including The Book of Mormon), and classification of life forms based on DNA nucleotide sequences.

This new method is based on sequence frequency - how often different information sequences occur within the data. The data can take virtually any form - words or letters in a manuscript, nucleotide sequences in DNA, or notes in a piece of music. The nature of the information is not important.

In applying their method to the Book of Mormon, they analysed the entire text of Book of Mormon and compared it to other books. As you would expect, the Book of Mormon clustered close to the King James Bible. They did not attempt a detailed analysis, like the one we (Jockers et al., 2008) carried out. We analyzed word frequency patterns for each chapter of the Book of Mormon and compared them to known texts from a set of candidate authors.

You can expect more of this kind of analysis in the future.

This kind of software could be used to analyze the DNA of Native Americans and to compare it to DNA from the Middle East. It could also be used to analyze word or letter sequences in different chapters of the Book of Mormon and to compare them to the word or letter sequences in known works of candidate authors of the Book of Mormon.
This Explains Why People Of The Times Would And Could Believe Joseph Smith Jr's Claims
Friday, Jun 5, 2009, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
Why were Joseph Smith's claim that American Indians were Hebrews was believable in 19th Century New York?

How and why 19th Century people of New York believed Joseph Smith and his claims that the American Indians were Hebrews from Israel is reviewed in a book I found several years ago.

I love to buy books at garage/yard sales and a few years ago, I bought a book published by Readers Digest for $2.00 about ancient America with lots of great pictures and historical information that I laid flat on the bottom shelf of a huge bookcase because it was so large.

I had not paid particular attention to it until my TBM hubby, a few years later found it in our bookcase and plopped it down in front of me, with great glee as proof that Joseph Smith was correct, opening it to the section: "Lost Tribes in the New World."

The book is called: "Mysteries of the Ancient Americas" The New World Before Columbus Published by Readers Digest 1986

The information related in this book explains many of the reasons why people in Joseph Smith's time, with Biblical underpinnings in their religions would believe wholeheartedly that the American Indians were Hebrews from Israel.

Here are a few short quotes from one chapter:

"Lost Tribes in the New World" pg. 32-38 The thrust of this chapter is the lost tribes from the Biblical accounts.

There is also a section on: Descendants of "White" Indians -These blue eyed Indians were sometimes called "Welsh Indians," as there were claims that they were conversant in the Welsh tongue.

An author in the late 18th century, James Adair, a trader in Indian territories for at least 40 years said that he heard chants among he Choctaw and Chickasaw and their neighbors that he said was the name Jehovah which he said was the Indian phrase for dead or lost.

Another phrase he said meant "gone to Canaan" and he claimed that the word "kora" was borrowed unchanged from the Hebrew.

This is a fascination book and shows two drawings and the research of Lord Kingsborough (Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough) who, in the 19th century was a young member of Parliament.

He "was convinced that the Indians of Mexico were directly descended from Israel's Ten Lost Tribes. As proof he spent his fortune on reproducing volumes of Aztec codices that, he claimed illustrated biblical events. " He relied heavily on Adair. He died in 1837 pg. 37

In 1650 one answer to the "Jewish Ancestors" question was published "The Hope of Israel" by Manasseh ben Israel, a rabbi in Amsterdam.

He told of a Spanish Jewish traveler, Antonio de Montezinos whose Indian Guide on one South American trip greeted him with "Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel)" pg 36

This author saw Old Testament customs in practice: ritual calendars, purification rites, circumcision, flood myths, sacrifices to gods, the veneration of a tribal ark.

I turned to page 40 and imagine my surprise to see a large picture of a painting of Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni delivering the golden plates on a hillside in New York.

Here are a few quotes from the several paragraphs relating to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon:

"According to Mormon history, these plates told how their ancestors came to America from the "land of Jerusalem."

"No other document, inscription, or legend now known shows a lose correspondence with this account of the peopling of America, but there are tempting inferences that can be drawn from the evidence that does exist."

"It is wishful thinking, then, or the legacy of Spanish political propaganda that keeps alive the belief that the native Americans were eagerly awaiting the coming of he white man in the 16th century - (referring to Quetzalcoatl).

So far as is known, today, the existence of such a thing had never been imagined by the Aztec or Inca."

"We now know that Viking kings preceded Columbus to North America by 500 years."

This is a huge book with over 300 pages and hundreds of beautifully done pictures.

This book, shows that the combination of the Spaniards and the subsequent peopling of America from Europe with their acceptance of Biblical history as their religious reference point,(and a great reliance on it being historically correct) led many to interpret the languages and drawings of the Indians as having Hebrew - Old Testament correlations.

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon fell right in line with the thinking of the day. He went along with what he read that was accepted as the prevailing notions of the history of the American Indians.

What he claimed in his stories in the Book of Mormon was plausible to the religious public. Even the procurement of the claimed original documents by angels, and visions, was religiously acceptable as a representative manifestation of God working in their lives.

Understanding this background shows that it was not hard for Joseph Smith to gain so many followers.

It might explain why even Jewish people would go along with Joseph Smith's claims.

Believing Mormons, nearly 170 years later will take anything even remotely resembling an acceptance of a tiny scrap of fact or possible evidence or opinion, and use it to prove Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is a true, factual book.

I was astounded to find a book published in 1986 with references to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. After reading the whole chapter, I understood why it was included.

Correlations between the American Indians and the Bible seems to be more a matter of heavily invested religious beliefs and wishful thinking of the times.

I suppose one could say that The Mormon Church is still stuck in the 19th Century New York as it has not followed the most current scientific evidence of the last 20 years of the real history of the Americas.

One does wonder if they will ever get up to date!

I share this info because, in my efforts to understand how Mormonism was still alive and well today, I had to gain a greater knowledge of how it got started in the first place. Once I knew more about the times, and the religious thinking of the day, it all fell into place.

D. Michael Quinn has an excellent book on the subject also: "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View."

My surprise was finding that Readers Digest book from 1986 that elucidated further how Mormonism got it's foot hold in the 19th Century.
Yet More Inconsistencies From Book Of Mormon, Mopologists And Reasonable People
Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009, at 08:18 AM
Original Author(s): Beeblequix
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2   -Link To MC Article-
1. The Book of Mormon makes use of deliberate word planting in an attempt to flesh out the uniqueness of the Book of Mormon people.

Matthew 5 (5-7 Sermon on the Mount) 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

3 Nephi 12 (12-14, Sermon on the Mount, again)

26 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay.

The Jesus of the English KJV New Testament refers to 'farthing', a translation of the Roman coin "quadrans" meaning "quarter".

The Jesus of 3 Nephi replaces quadrans/farthing with SENINE. If you read the next sentence you'll notice how "Jesus" really doesn't say anything else, only manages to slip in another reference to the Nephite monetary unit introduced in Alma 11, the SENINE. It's almost as if that second sentence is placed there to make sure that we, the readers, know "Jesus" is talking to Nephites in America, that he's fully aware of the things they're familiar with.

2. 3 Nephi 21:14 -- Does Jesus break form and use unfamiliar terms?

4 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

Jesus mentions "horses" and "chariots", not "tapirs" and something-that-doesn't-explicitly-say-it's-used-for-transportation-so-it's-therefore-not-transportation. One of the most entertaining mind-jobs Mormon apologists pursue is trying to convince you that HORSE is not a horse, of course. They argue that Joe Jr. was limited in his ability to translate the "ancient scripture" to the words in his own mind.

They conveniently leave out a number of things --

* that GOD HIMSELF did the work for Joseph as prophesied in the Book of Mormon

* that Joe Jr. "told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on Earth" and that he should be the ultimate human authority to make that statement assuming he was telling the truth

* that despite their attempts of placing arbitrary limits on Joe Jr.'s vocabulary there are a number of words that SOMEHOW managed to come through: curelom, cumom, neas, senum, amnor, ezrom, onti, senine, seon, shum, limnah, deseret, ziff, plus a !@#$^# load of new and quirky names like "irreantum", and some ending in "-ihah" and some even getting really foreign-sounding by starting with "Z", or even having a pakisaudirusiovaltineistan cadence like "Mohonri Moriancumer" (just call him "brother of Jared for short because for some reason nobody can spell it, even men inspired of God). SOMEHOW Joe Jr. was able to tell us about "Gadianton" robbers all through the BOM but couldn't find an appropriate Nephite, Lamanite or Jaredite word for domesticated-four-legged-beast-of-burden-almost-always-found-in-association-with-a-common-manmade-means-of-transportation. It's ridiculous to believe that on the one hand GOD HIMSELF gave Joe Jr. the exact translation for dozens of unique Book of Mormon nouns and proper nouns, but try to fudge, obfuscate, blur, detract, equivocate, ignore, and lie, as in liar-liar-pants-on-fire, to avoid taking the most correct book on the planet with its restored plain and precious parts at face value, and morph it into something as concrete as a rubber crutch where anything can mean anything just as long as your dogma isn't disturbed. Perhaps "down" really means up? Perhaps God's "kindled wrath and anger" really refers to a 12" hoagie using only "endangered meat" products?

I'd argue that the Book of Mormon author meant "horse", "chariot", "steel swords", etc. when he put pen to paper. He even has a flying, undead Jesus Christ using "horse" and "chariot". Why did Jesus GO OUT OF HIS WAY a few chapters earlier by refering and rereferring to "senine"? It's most likely because the people wouldn't understand him by referring to "farthing", "quadran", "quarter", "pound", "ruble", "dollar", "rupih", etc., and having people understand his message would be paramount -- hence the rising from the dead and flying about in the clouds without jetpack, antigravity unit or bright red cape. Assuming the Book of Mormon Jesus is a consistent, reliable god, why would he use the words "horse" and "chariot" unless the people could understand him? If they didn't know what a horse or chariot was it would be like Jesus referring to "strained-silicon-on-insulator" or "semaphore". Yeah, *that* feeling of not knowing what any of that means -- that would be how Nephites would react if they didn't know horse from deer, barley from squash, compass from global positioning system and shiite from shinola.

Just my .000002 cents.

How to navigate:
  • Click the subject below to go directly to the article.
  • Click the blue arrow on the article to return to the top.
  • Right-Click and copy the "-Guid-" (the Link Location URL) for a direct link to the page and article.
Archived Blogs:
Why Did Joseph Smith Try Selling The Copyright To The Book Of Mormon?
Historical Book Of Mormon Parallel
Book Of Mormon Theme Of Cycle Of Wickedness And Righteousness Nothing New
God Sanctioned Beheading In The Book Of Mormon
The Complexity Of The Book Of Mormon Is A Clue
How Did Joseph Smith Sr. Get Into 1 Nephi 8?
Book Of Mormon Introduction Changed
Another Church Publication Stating That The Book Of Mormon Is About "God's Dealings With Some Of The Ancient Inhabitants Of The Americas"
It Isn't About The Change, It's About The Dynamics
Something Interesting About The 1962 Book Of Mormon
Linguistics Problems In Mormonism
My Cockatrice Problem
Official Changes To Book Of Mormon Chapter Headings
Interesting Perspectives On The Changes To The Book Of Mormon
The Lost 116 Pages Show That Joseph Lied About The Book Of Mormon
Most Damning Verse Contest: Questioning The Validity Of The Book Of Mor[m]on!
The Book Of Mormon Introduction At Has Been Changed To Incorporate The "One-Word" Change
The Book Of Mormon Vs Mormonism
The Criddle Study-A Critical Review
Message In A Bottle: The Maritime Myth Of The Book Of Ether
"Standing For Something More", By Lyndon Lamborn
Book Of Mormon Stories Your Mama Didn't Teach You!
New Method For The Analysis Of Text And DNA Sequences - Applied To Book Of Mormon
This Explains Why People Of The Times Would And Could Believe Joseph Smith Jr's Claims
Yet More Inconsistencies From Book Of Mormon, Mopologists And Reasonable People
5,709 Articles In 365 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (365 Topics)

  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 3 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 4 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 5 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 6 (19)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 1 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 2 (21)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 3 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 4 (22)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 5 (37)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (100)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DNA (23)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · FARMS (30)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 3 (13)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VIDEOS (30)
Copyright And Info
Articles posted here are © by their respective owners when designated.

Website © 2005-2021

Compiled With: Caligra 1.119