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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mormon Conspiracy Unvail'd!!

Pardon the indulgence into a bit of satire, but I heard the following caller on the Michael Medved radio show and couldn't help myself.

Michael Medved, who is Jewish, has been an outspoken defender of people of the LDS faith whenever callers to his show have tried to attack us. This video adaptation of a typical Michael Medved Show "Conspiracy Day" call from a few weeks ago is a classic that needs to be passed around as much as possible.

Why I (Rob) am a Book of Mormon Apologist

Steve posted his reasons for being a Book of Mormon apologist, and I now feel compelled to do so as well.

I had the privilege of serving an LDS mission in Guatemala. About 8 months into my mission, I purchased a children's copy of the Popol Vuh (if only to match my limited Spanish reading comprehension at the time). One of my district leaders, a fellow from Chiquimula, Guatemala, saw the book and asked me why I had purchased it instead of the full version. When I told him why, he asked me if I understood what it contained. I told him that it looked like any other Native American legend book to me and that I had read many like it in my rural Southwestern U.S. hometown.

He then proceded to school me in what the Popol Vuh means, or should mean, to Latter-day Saints who want to know more about Book of Mormon history. He said that contrary to what his Catholic and secular school teachers had taught when he read it in school, it wasn't just a book of random legends, writings, and mythologies. When read in the context of the Restoration of the Gospel, it was quite literally a fragment of the Gospel knowledge that remained of a post Nephite and declining Lamanite society. Its seemingly esoteric (rather, exoteric) ramblings actually corresponded to real and basic Gospel principles, but in a corrupted and apostate form.

With that in mind, I re-read the Popol Vuh book, with notes my district leader wrote in it to help with the translation into English and possible Gospel concepts, and was astonished at what I had missed. I have plans to make that the subject of another post (or two, or five) because it really is that interesting. But for now, let's just say that this was the catalyst that compelled me to study the Book of Mormon in more depth than ever before.

Toward the end of my mission, an Elder with whom I had come into the mission showed me a book called "The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan" that a local member had given him. I opened it, and with my considerably improved Spanish reading comprehension, was excited to find that it was another local Maya tribe's version of many of the same events and symbols found in the Popol Vuh. The "Title"'s author, during the Spanish conquest of the 1550s, made direct (but today often disputed) claims to a direct descendancy of his people from Israel.

The common linkages I began to see between these two books and Biblical and Book of Mormon concepts and doctrines began to galvanize my desire to fully study the additional physical evidences that must surely exist.

Since then, even though I make no claims to be any kind of professional or experienced anthropologist/archaeologist/ethnographist/etc., I have kept an eye out for anything and everything that might point to evidence of the Book of Mormon's claims. I marvel at the knowledge that has come to light and that experienced scholars such as Daniel Peterson and John Tvedtnes are able to build a solid foundation upon which these evidences can rest.

I want to categorically and undeniably state, at the same time, that I have a firm knowledge, completely independent and antecedent to the above experiences, that the Book of Mormon is true and exactly what it claims to be. Even if the Conquistadores had burned and destroyed every last vestige of Mesoamerican literature and monuments, the hard and simple truths of the book stand on their own, brilliantly testify of the Bible's authenticity, and teach and prophesy correctly of Christ. It is, as Joseph Smith taught, "the most correct of any book on earth". I testify that I have grown closer to God because of it.