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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Response to Matt Slick or Steve Smoot's Excellent Adventure in Anti-Mormon Zombie Hell (Pt. 4)

"The Book of Mormon is tough. It thrives on investigation. You may kick it around like a football, as many have done; and I promise you it will wear you out before you ever put a dent in it."

- Hugh W. Nibley

One of the standard methods employed by anti-Mormons when it comes to criticizing the Book of Mormon is to create a long and impressive laundry list of "problems" with the text (must need items on that list include steel, horses, wheat and Jesus being born in Jerusalem) and present it to the audience without any further follow up or elaboration. After all, once the list runs well over several items that should be enough to have the Latter-day Saints shaking in their boots and other like-minded critics nodding in solemn agreement. 

Without failure, Matt Slick flawlessly executes this trick in his article with the unexciting, unoriginal and cliche title "Problems with the Book of Mormon".

After a watered-down and somewhat inaccurate synopsis of the Book of Mormon[1], Slick then presents his list of "problems" with the Book of Mormon and glibly remarks that the book therefore "is not of God".

Let us take a look at Slick's chart and see if it hold up. As with the other articles in this series, Slick's comments are in red whilst mine are in black.


Adam's Fall/ 2 Ne. 2:25 / False: Men exist without Adam's Fall.


Slick provides no Scriptural evidence for this claim. He simply asserts this and leaves it be. Paul, on the other hand, spoke of how "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). Does not death for everyone "in Adam" not also require first that we all partake of mortality? Furthermore, were not Adam and Eve unable to have children lest they fall from grace in the garden? It seems, therefore, that Slick contradicts scripture.

Birth of Jesus/ Alma 7:10/ Alma 7:10 contradicts the Bible in Matt 2:1

The fact that Slick brings up this old and worn out anti-Mormon chestnut demonstrates that not only is he unfamiliar with the usage of the words "land" versus "city" in the Book of Mormon (indeed, Jesus is said to have been born in the "land" of Jerusalem and not the "city") but that he also is either woefully ignorant of the most recent Book of Mormon scholarship or is simply ignoring it. 

It must be remembered that Bethlehem is less than 5 miles south of Jerusalem, and thus, it would have been considered to be apart of the larger geo-political "land of Jerusalem" as is recorded in the Book of Mormon and other texts such as the Amarna letters and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Like the ancient Greek City-States of Athens and Sparta, Jerusalem was both a "city" and a "land" in that there was the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding landscape and smaller cities that the "land of Jerusalem" encompassed. Daniel C. Peterson aptly sums up the issue thusly:

The prophecy of Alma 7:10 fits into antiquity very well. If, as Professors Eisenman and Wise observe, an allusion to "the land of Jerusalem" in Pseudo-Jeremiah fragment 4Q385 "greatly enhances [its] sense of historicity," does similar language not "greatly enhance the sense of historicity" of the Book of Mormon? Alma 7:10 is not the sort of thing that Joseph Smith would likely have invented, precisely for the same reason that it bothers enemies of Mormonism. Far from being a serious liability for the Book of Mormon, Alma's prophetic comment about the birth of the Messiah is plausible evidence that the Nephite record is exactly what it claims to be—an authentic ancient historical text with roots in the Near East. [8]

Cimeter (Scimitar)/ Mosiah 9:16/ Scimitars (Curved Swords) didn't exist until the 500's.


This is simply false. Plenty of epigraphical and archaeological evidence shows that scimitars were being used in both Pre-Exilic Israel and Pre-Classic Mesoamerica[2]. 


Elephants/ Ether 9:19/ Elephants weren't in America at the time of the BOM [Book of Mormon]


FAIR has created a nice summary on the issue of Elephants and other animals[3] in the Book of Mormon. I shall quote the page in extensio for the reader:

The only place that elephants are mentioned in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 9:19 in approximately 2500 B.C. Thus any elephants existing upon the American continents need not have survived past about 2400 B.C...Besides the traditions, five elephant effigies have been found in ancient Mexico. Dr. Verrill, a well-known (non-Mormon) archaeologist describes one of these figures as “‘so strikingly and obviously elephantine that it cannot be explained away by any of the ordinary theories of being a conventionalized or exaggerated tapir, ant-eater or macaw. Not only does this figure show a trunk, but in addition it has the big leaf-like ears and the forward-bending knees peculiar to the elephants. Moreover, it shows a load or burden strapped upon its back. It is inconceivable that any man could have imagined a creature with the flapping ears and peculiar hind knees of an elephant, or that any human being could have conventionalized a tapir to this extent’”...
The oral traditions, written records, and artwork depicting elephants lends strong support for the claim that the elephant existed in ancient America. Even more substantial support-- actual remains-- have also been discovered. Today all scholars agree that mastodons and mammoths (which are unquestionably elephants to zoologists) once lived in the Americas. The dispute today is how late they lived. According to the Book of Mormon they need not have lived later than 2400 B.C. Within recent years archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the elephant could very well have survived to such a late date. Butchered mastodon bones were recently discovered at one archaeological site which dates to shortly after the time of Christ. Another site, dating to approximately 100 B.C. has yielded the remains of a mammoth, a mastodon, as well as a horse.
Some scholars have suggested that the elephant (mammoth or mastodon) lived later than hitherto believed. Ludwell Johnson, in an article entitled “Men and Elephants in America” published in Scientific Monthly, wrote that
“Discoveries of associations of human and proboscidean remains [Elephantine mammals, including, elephants, mammoths, and mastodons] are by no means uncommon. As of 1950, MacCowan listed no less than twenty-seven” including, as noted by Hugo Gross, a “partly burned mastodon skeleton and numerous potsherds at Alangasi, Ecuador...There can no longer be any doubt that man and elephant coexisted in America.... Probably it is safe to say that American Proboscidea have been extinct for a minimum of 3000 years."
If the elephants had died off at least 3000 years ago, they would still have been well within range of the Jaredite era. And as noted above, some evidence indicates that the elephant may have survived in limited numbers for centuries later.

In short, the elephant presents no problem for the Book of Mormon. [4. Footnotes silently deleted]


Honey Bees/ Ether 2:3/ Honey Bees were introduced to America by the Spanish


Slick needs to read the Book of Mormon text more closely. The only mention of Honey Bees in the Book of Mormon occur in an Old World setting (that of the Jaredites in central Asia or western Mesopotamia). Furthermore, evidence of pre-Columbian domesticated Honey Bees is ample[5]. The simple fact of the matter is that Slick is wrong on both counts.


God Indwells the Righteous/ Alma 34:36/ BOM contradicts the D&C


Context is everything. The quotation from D&C 130 is speaking of the "old sectarian notion" that because God and Christ do not have bodies they therefore can literally dwell within the hearts of the men. The Prophet Joseph Smith clarifies and states (verse 22) that it is by the Holy Ghost (who does not have a body) that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ (who do have bodies) dwells within the hearts of the righteous. Therefore, the D&C does not contradict but instead clarifies the Book of Mormon by stating that it is by the Sprit that the Lord dwells within our hearts. 


Horses/ 1 Ne. 18:25/ Horses didn't exist in America until the 16th Century


Actually, horse remains have been found that date to the 2nd Ice Age (circa 10,000 BCE). The question, however, is whether or not any of those horses survived until the times of the Book of Mormon. Again, we turn to FAIR:

 As mentioned, one should not reject the possibility of "loan-shifting," — candidate species for "horse" under this interpretation include the tapir, deer or llama.

However, the case against pre-Columbian horses may not be as 'iron-clad' as the critics assume:

Excavations at the site of Mayapan, which dates to a few centuries before the Spaniards arrived, yielded horse bones in four spots. (Two of the lots were from the surface, however, and might represent Spanish horses.) From another site, the Cenote (water hole) Ch'en Mul, came other traces, this time from a firm archaeological context. In the bottom stratum in a sequence of levels of unconsolidated earth almost two meters in thickness, two horse teeth were found. They were partially mineralized, indicating that they were definitely ancient and could not have come from any Spanish animal. The interesting thing is that Maya pottery was also found in the stratified soil where the teeth were located.

Some have argued that horse remains ought to be better attested, if they did play a role in Nephite society. However, it should be remembered that horses do not play a major role in the Book of Mormon. They are mentioned in the following contexts:

Quotations from Old World scriptures

  • 2 Nephi 12:7 - citation from Isaiah
  • 2 Nephi 15:28 - citation from Isaiah

Apocalyptic teachings in Old World style

  • 3 Nephi 21:14 - Jesus speaks of "horses and chariots" in a symbolic and apocalyptic address

Horses in the New World

  • 1 Nephi 18:25: we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness,...the horse...
  • Ether 9:19 - Jaredites had "horses"

Used in conjunction with chariots

  • Alma 18:9 - Ammon feeds the Lamanite king's horses, which are associated with his "chariots."
  • Alma 20:6 - Lamanite king uses horses and chariot for visit to neighboring kingdom
  • 3 Nephi 3:22 - Nephites "had taken their horses, and their chariots" to a central fortified area for protection against robbers

(It should be noted that we are not told if these chariots served a purpose in riding, or if they were for transport of goods, or if they had a ceremonial function. One assumes some sort of practicality, since they brought chariots to the siege in 3 Nephi.)

Role in animal husbandry

  • Enos 1:21 - the people of Nephi did...raise...flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.
  • 3 Nephi 4:4 - During the robbers' seige, the Nephites "reserved for themselves provisions, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years"
  • 3 Nephi 6:1 - After the seige, Nephites each take their possessions home, including "horses and cattle"

It is interesting that the horses are often grouped with cattle, and seem to have played a role in the diet (though this may have been under the exigencies of the siege of 3 Nephi.)

Conspicuously absent is any role of the horse in the many journeys recorded in the Book of Mormon. Nor do horses or chariots play any role in the many Nephite wars; this is in stark contrast to the Biblical account, in which the chariots of Egypt, Babylon, and the Philistines are feared super-weapons upon the plains of Israel.

Nor do we see a role for the horse in gallant cavalry charges that were the romantic warrior ideal in Joseph Smith's day. Nor is there any sign of the rapid war of manoeuver and skirmish favored by the cavalry of the western nations. These are not the horses of the nineteenth century's practical realities or fanciful dreams.

There are societies in which the horse was vital, such as among the Hun warriors of Asia and Eastern Europe, for whom horses were a sign of wealth and status, and for whom they were essential for food, clothing, and war. Yet, there is no known horse bone from this period in the archaeologic record.

If the hundreds of thousands of horses owned by the Huns left little or no trace, it may not be surprising that little has been found in the Americas, given that the Book of Mormon's role for horses is minimal. Ironically, there is more evidence of horses among the Mesoamericans than among the Huns!

Besides, "everyone knows" there were no horses in the Americas before Columbus. Joseph Smith would have understood this common belief. If he was trying to perpetuate a fraud, why include an element that nearly everyone would have heard about, especially when it plays such a small role in the book? [6. Footnotes silently removed.]


Steel/ 1 Ne. 4:9/ The Jews did not have steel at that time.


Again, Slick is simply wrong. Evidence shows that steel swords were being made as early as the 10th century BCE in the ancient Near East. Furthermore, the "steel" mentioned in the Book of Mormon is most assuredly not modern steel (which was not invented until the 1850's) but is consistent with the ancient usage of the word[7].


Salvation/ 2 Ne. 25:23/ Salvation by works.


Slick reads this verse in the Book of Mormon (which talks of being saved by grace "after all we can do") as promoting salvation via works. As a fundamentalist Protestant this is nothing short of heresy for Slick. However, as has been demonstrated by Jeff Lindsay[9], plenty of Scriptural texts point to works being a vital role in our salvation. The Lord reminds us, for example, that not everyone who simply cries "Lord, Lord"[10] will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who "do the will of my Father" (Matt. 7:21). However, does this mean that we therefore can disregard the Atonement of Christ and his Grace? Absolutely not! The Book of Mormon is emphatic in its declaration that all men will be saved by the Atoning power of Christ. However, that does not mean that we can simply "confess Jesus" and expect to be saved willy-nilly. We must strive to keep the commandments of the Lord and follow His example that he has set for us in order to access the Atonement of Christ. 


Silk/ Alma 4:6/ The Jews didn't have silk at that time.


John Sorenson, in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon[11] and elsewhere has dealt with the issue of silk in the Book of Mormon. He shows evidence that ancient Mesoamerican cultures had fibrous materials that could qualify as silk. Again, we need not assume that the silk in the Book of Mormon is referring to Chinese silk that we modern readers are familiar with. Again, we turn to FAIR:

The production of Old World "silk" requires both silkworms and the mulberry trees upon whose leaves they feed, which critics have charged is impossible.

However, there are several examples of silk or silk-like fabric in pre-Columbian America:

  • wild silkworms do exist, and some commentators insisted that the Amerindians spun and wove it from their coccoons
  • hair from rabbit bellies was also spun into a cloth dubbed "silk" by the Spanish conquerors
  • floss from the ceiba (silk-cotton) tree was made into a "soft delicate cloth," kapok.
  • fibres from the wild pineable were also prized for their ability to be woven into a fine, durable fabric
  • cotton cloth in Mexico from A.D. 400 is "even, very fine, and gossamer-thin." [12]


Sufficiently Humble/ Alma 5:27/ How do you become sufficiently humble?



This is a gross misrepresentation of Alma's words and demonstrates that Slick is not only sloppy but also highly disingenuous with the Book of Mormon text. In that verse, the one which, it should be noted, Slick even posted on his webpage, so he cannot claim ignorance, it is clear that Alma is rhetorically asking how one can be sufficiently humble without the Atonement of Christ. The verse reads:

Have ye walked, keeping yourself blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? (Emphasis added.)

It is clear that Alma is asking this rhetorically because all throughout Alma 5 he asks a series of other rhetorical questions meant to call out the reader and put them on the spot. It is intended to show that without the Atonement of Christ we couldn't stand before God and seriously expect to escape judgement. After all, for example, how could we say that we have been sufficiently humble to God without the Atonement of Christ? 


Two Churches/ 1 Ne. 14:10/ If non-Mormon church is the church of Satan, why is Mormonism trying to appear like it?


This is a strange question. What does Slick mean by this? Is he suggesting that the Church of Jesus Christ is trying to become more mainstream? Is he suggesting that Mormons are trying to appear more "Christian"[13]? Until Slick clarifies his statement, this remains an anomaly that I cannot answer.

Conclusion

Not content with that list alone, Slick then again provides another list that shows supposed contradictions with the Book of Mormon and other Latter-day Saint teachings. I have also dealt with this list in parts 1 and 2 of this series.

Thus we see that Slick's list of Book of Mormon problems does not hold up under close scrutiny. Not only is he ignorant of the most recent scholarship that contradict his claims with regard to steel, scimitars, silk, horses, elephants and honey bees but he also is irresponsible when dealing with the Book of Mormon text on issues such as salvation, the birthplace of Jesus and Alma's discourses. Until Slick cleans up his scholarship, we must therefore dismiss his exegesis and analysis of the Book of Mormon as nothing more than pedantic and shallow polemics.


*** End of Part 4 ***


[1]: For example, Slick claims that the Book of Mormon covers a period of 600 BC to 400 AD. In reality, the Book of Ether provides a chronology much earlier than 600BC. Slick also claims that the Book of Mormon describes "some Jews" escaping Jerusalem. While it is true that the Mulekites would have been Jewish, Nephi and his family most certainly were not. The Book of Mormon records that Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3, 1 Ne. 5:14) and that Ishmael was an Ephraimite (JD 23:184).

[2]: On scimitars in the Book of Mormon, see Paul Y. Hoskisson "Scimitars, Cimeters! We Have Scimitars! Do We Need Another Cimeter?" and William J. Hamblin and A. Brent Merrill "Notes on the Cimeter (Scimitar) in the Book of Mormon" in Warfare in the Book of Mormon (FARMS, 1990) pages 352-359 and 360-364 respectively. Also see "Swords and "Cimeters" in the Book of Mormon" and "Mesoamerican "Cimeters" in the Book of Mormon" by Matt Roper. (See links here and here)

[3]: When dealing with plants and animals in the Book of Mormon, we must be careful not to read our modern presumptions or paradigms into the text. For example, when the Book of Mormon authors describe certain plants or animals, we must remember that the ancient peoples practiced what is called loan shifting, or, in other words, using a familiar name and applying it to an unfamiliar item (such as an animal or object). For example, the hippopotamus in Greek means "water horse" because when the Greeks first discovered the creature they had no other way of describing it. Thus, when the Nephites describe horses or elephants, we need to consider the possibility that they were using a familiar name and applying it to an unfamiliar creature (such as a deer or a tapir in the case of the horse or mammoths in the case of the elephant). We also need to remember that the Book of Mormon is a translation, which would also allow the possibility of Joseph Smith using a familiar word (like horse) to describe the original word in reformed Egyptian in his translation. 

[4]: See: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Animals#Elephant

[5]: See: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Animals#Bees

[6]: See: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Animals#Horse

[7]: See William J. Hamblin in "Steel in the Book of Mormon" (link here) and "On Nephi's Steel Bow" by Kevin Barney (link here). Also see "Ancient Steel Sword Unearthed" by Gordon C. Thomasson (link here).

[8]: Daniel C. Peterson "On Alma 7:10 and the Birthplace of Jesus Christ" (link here). Also see the offering by FAIR (link here).

[9]: See his website on Grace vs. Works (link here).

[10]: This would seem to contradict the Evangelical position that all one must do to be saved is confess the name of Jesus. Notice how the Lord specifically says that it is not enough to simply say "Lord, Lord" as Protestant theologians would have us think.

[11]: John L. Sorenson An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (FARMS, 1995) pg. 232

[12]:http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Plants#Silk

[13]: Which, of course, would be absurd considering the fact that, despite the protest from the likes of Slick, Latter-day Saints are Christians.

4 comments:

  1. Another item on the Jerusalem "controversy" which is generally ignored in such discussions: According to the Book of Mormon timeline, Chapter 7 of Alma was given circa 83 B.C., approximately 517 years after Lehi's family had fled into the wilderness. Given the antiquity of the world at that time, there was absolutely no communication between the Old World and the New, and no one in the Nephite civilization would have had any knowledge of the particulars of the geography of the land of their forefathers. All they knew was that their ancestors came from a land called "Jerusalem" several centuries prior.

    Given these circumstances, would it have made more sense for the Lord, through Alma, to tell the people of Gideon that Christ would be born "in Bethlehem" (both accurate and precise, but contextually incomprehensible) or "at Jerusalem" (accurate and easily understood by every person in attendance, though slightly imprecise)? Far from damning the Book of Mormon, this episode bolsters the credibility of the work by demonstrating that the Lord speaks to the understanding of each of His children rather than giving an impersonal one-size-fits-all message.

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  2. Hey bid daddy:

    Interesting observations, thanks for the contribution.

    You are, of course, strictly correct when you say that this "land of Jerusalem" actually bolsters the Book of Mormon instead of damning it.

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  3. I thought just the opposite of what Nibley's opening quote holds was the case with the Book of Mormon.

    Apperently by "men" you mean sexually reproduce offspring. I see nothing in the Bible to suppose sex was forbidden prior to the Fall. Sex between a husband and wife is a good thing (and not a sin) so I would be very surprised to hear of God forbidding it. That is a view of the LDS but not one that I accept. So then, as best as we can tell, Adam and Eve were able to have children before they fell, to answer your question Steve. I do not see the relevance of quoting I Cor 15:22 here.

    I find it interesting that when Slick alludes to a verse from the Book of Mormon you quote it out so the full context is plain but do NOT hold yourself to the same standard. Are you using a double standard here? Alma 7:10 reads as follows:
    "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers..."
    The 'land' is not of Jerusalem but, instead, of the forefathers. The forefathers were Israelites. The land of the Israelites was Israel and Jerusalem was part of THAT 'land'. And you think Slick doesn't handle the Book of Mormon responsibly?

    With respect to the misc. items commonly said to not be in America at the right time, together with the common LDS responses, I have a few comments. First, it seems to me that a part of the defense sometimes made, is to say that some other item similar (i.e. not identicle) to the said item is found in America at the right time so we ought to accept the Book of Mormon account. It would be like speaking of oranges in an area only producing grapefruit. Grapefruit are Not oranges and oranges are NOT grapefruit. Second, to say that Smith would not put horses in the Book of Mormon because everybody 'knows' there were no horses so he would not make such a grievous error is to contradict a very important fact, apparently, of Mormon apologetics. Namely, Joseph Smith was just an ignorant farm boy. How could we expect him to know what most everyone 'knows'? Finally, while the honeybees are mentioned in an old world context, that is not the whole story. It seems you want to apply a double standard to yourself and Slick on this score. The people with the honeybees had collected them to bring them to the new world with them. In other words, if we presume they did not die on the voyage, there is an implied new world context for the said bees.

    Next, it is well known that Mormonism teaches salvation by works. This is not a misinterpretation on Slick's part of that verse either. There may well be many Scriptural passages that teach salvation by works in uniquely Mormon Scripture but there are none in the Bible. As I've pointed out before, to say otherwise is to misinterprate the Bible. You want Evangelicals to read the Book of Mormon in context? This is as it should be. Just make sure that you, in turn, read the Bible in context as well. To remind you, the entire Bible teaches salvation by grace alone but Galatians is a good place to start when exploring this teaching. Now, all of this is not to say that good works are not important. If we are to call ourselves followers of Christ, then He expects us to live holy lives. No question about that. Grace alone is in total agreement with that obvious biblical truth. But the good works are not in any way shape or form what saves us (or keeps us saved). The works gospel of Mormonism is the other gospel Paul warned us about in Galatians. I understand that LDS theology does not deny grace (what you deny is grace alone-'not grace alone' is all I mean by 'works gospel').

    It is not clear to me what your concern is with Alma 5:27 as construed by Slick. I would say, however, that the idea that one will become a god or goddess is the epitomy of pride. That is what happened to the devil you know. He was so prideful he thought he could become a god. That was his downfall. And he told Adam and Eve they could become gods. That is what precipitated the Fall of man. I do not see how 'eternal progression' is any different from that. So then, it is ironic to be reading about how good sufficient humility is, in Mormon literature. What is more, it is hard to remain humble WITH the atonement of Christ as misunderstood by Mormon theology. For the Mormon atonement is a gospel of works but, in Romans, we read that if it be of works then we have whereof to boast. Boasting is what prideful people do.

    Slick's final question is an important one. It is one I have often asked myself. When I talk to LDS missionaries, or Mormons in general, one of the first noteworthy things I notice, is that they shall go to any length (even lying, apparently) to convince me that Mormons believe exactly the same way that I do. And Mormons are clearly very concerned that others shall refer to them as Christians. I was always told I should read the Book of Mormon for myself instead of listening to anti-Mormon propaganda. One of the first things I read is that I belong to the church of Satan. I asked some missionaries if I understood the passage in I Ne 14 correctly. They admitted I had. So one wonders, if the church of Satan is so apostate and abominable, why do Mormons insist they are just like us? I believe that is what Slick is getting at. My own suspicion is that that is a way, together with playing the denomination card, to trick people into becoming Mormons. After they are baptized, they re-learn the truth. But they are already roped in via friendshipping. Perhaps more importantly, they are already paying their mandatory tithe. There are, I suspect, many Mormons who sincerely believe all the right things and are not merely staying for sociological reasons. Even the majority are probably so. And, if anyone really wants to leave, they can-it is sometimes difficult, I have heard, but they can do it.

    At any rate, dear Steve, I hope I have given you some food for thought. I look forward to reading anything and everything you have to say by way of response to these comments of mine.

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  4. Evangelical:

    Your reading of Alma 7:10 makes no sense. This sort of misreading of the text has been promoted by Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry, so I think you are getting it from there. The land is clearly identified as Jerusalem in that verse. "Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers." How on earth do you get any reading of that verse to conclude that Alma was speaking about Israel proper? Israel, the land, is not mentioned ever in that verse. It is clearly talking about Jerusalem, the "land of our forefathers".

    You are simply offering an ad hoc reading of the text in light of the overwhelming evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other texts that supports the Book of Mormon.

    Further, do you really think that Joseph Smith was so dumb that he didn't know where Jesus was born but was smart enough to include lengthy and complex Hebraisms in the text? This just doesn't make any sense.

    You comments about Honey bees in the text are also gravely mistaken. Both the Old and New World had pre-Columbian domesticated bees. Period. It is not an anachronism. The newest FARMS Review (18/1) has a treatment of this subject that you should read.

    You seem to be simply parroting the same non-Mormon Evangelical views on LDS theology, including the relationship of grace vs. works and theosis. Don't take this personally, but it is really tiring to keep having to respond to these allegations when they have long been refuted. Daniel C. Peterson in his essay "Shall they not both Fall into a Ditch?" in a previous issue of the FARMS Review has extensively refuted Evangelical allegations about LDS theology.

    Other than have, have a great New Year!

    ReplyDelete

We are happy to discuss any and every topic and question. We will give wide berth to a variety of opinions and ideas. The only thing we ask is that you return the favor by respecting our right to believe as we do and by not issuing lengthy, inflammatory diatribes meant to shock and confuse anyone not familiar with LDS teachings. They can certainly get that elsewhere. :)