Google
 

Monday, July 16, 2007

The LDS Church And Racism

My thoughts regarding racism and the LDS church:

Since the subject of racism in the LDS church was brought up in the comments of a previous post, I thought I would dedicate a new post to the subject and copy all the comments from previous posts and paste them here, since they really have nothing to do with the original posts. I don't mind getting off on a few tangents, but the response was so overwhelming I decided to move the comments to a new post.

Racism Is Taught In The Book Of Mormon

The overall story of the Book of Mormon is the continual struggle and battles between the "white and delightsome" Nephites against the "dark and loathsome" Lamanites. The original Book of Mormon includes the phrase "white and delightsome" much more often. Modern versions of the Book of Mormon now say "pure and delightsome" in place like 2 Nephi 30:6. You can read the original text here, and compare it with the current text here. You can see how they have replaced the word "white and delightsome" with "pure and delightsome".

However, the phrase "white and exceedingly fair and delightsome" still managed to slip by the LDS PR patrol in their revisions of the Book of Mormon.

Before we continue, it is important to also point out that there is really no such thing as a "white" person. Nobody's skin is truly "white" white, it is just a lighter shade of tan.

The worst part regarding the Book of Mormon and racism isn't just the racial conflicts, but it is that the dark skin was a curse placed on the Lamanites and their posterity.

Some have said that the Lamanites were cursed and that the dark skin was only a "mark" of the curse, and not the actual curse. However, that is not what the Book of Mormon says.

2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

Alma refers back to the incident when they were cursed with the dark skin.

Alma 3:6 "And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren"

Alma 3:6 says specifically that the mark WAS the curse. So the dark skin wasn't a mark on the cursed people, the mark WAS the curse put on the people.

The Ban On Blacks And The Priesthood Until 1978

Joseph Smith never taught that blacks could not hold the priesthood. In fact, the first black LDS Elder was Elijah Abel, ordained an Elder by Joseph Smith himself on March 3, 1836 and ordained a seventy a few months later by Zebedee Coltrin. Elijah later became a seventy and served honorable missions. Although he was ordained to the office of seventy, he was not considered a general authority at the time. Other blacks were given the priesthood under Joseph Smith, but very few. However, the fact remains that Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to blacks.

Brigham Young is the person that changed the doctrine that placed a ban on the blacks to receive the priesthood. In fact, under Brigham Young, Elijah Abel was barred from receiving his temple endowments because he was black, even though he still remained a seventy and continued doing missionary work.

Brigham Young's Famous Journal Of Discourses

The journal of discourses is probably the most dreaded official church document by most LDS members, yet it is a favorite among those that are critical of the church. The entire journal of discourses can be read in the right column under "reference material". Some "spiritual thoughts" by Brigham Young as found in his Journal:

"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind....Cain slew his brother. Can might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, page 290).

"In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the "servant of servants," and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 2, page 172.)

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)

What About The 2nd Article Of Faith?

To say that a darker shade of tan is a curse from God is bad, but to go further and say that their descendants also have a curse goes against the 2nd article of faith:

"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression."

The second article of faith says that Adam's sins are not passed down to his children. So how is it that Cain's punishment of the dark skin is passed down from generation to generation, but the original sin, Adam's transgression, is not? Perhaps it should have said:

"We believe that white men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression, however black men will be punished for Cain's transgression".

81 comments:

Zelph said...

These are the comments that are copies and pasted from the previous post.

Elder Joseph said...

Zelph

Just on a different subject again ..my apologies ..

I just got a 'revelation' today whilst emailing my former missionaries .

The church apologists admit the American Indians were already there in the Americas when Lehi supposedly arrived and that they have Siberian/Mongolian Ancestors.

Somehow Lehi supposedly integrated with them etc and they became part of the Nephite/Lamenite clans .....

So if the Lamanites skin was turned dark from white because of Iniquity according to the Book Of Mormon , how come their ancestors skin in Siberia/Mongolia is dark also . Mormons would have to believe that the curse extended to their Ancestors back home in the Siberia/Mongolia region ?

lol

July 9, 2007 4:45 AM

Bishop Rick said...

EJ,

It is funny that the Lamanites were separated from the Nephites within 30 years of the time they left Jerusalem, so only after about 20 years of being in the Americas. Since the BofM specifically states that the Nephites were white and delightsome, and the Lamanites were cursed with a skin of blackness, this indicates that no integration took place prior to the curse.

Without taking up much space for explanation, this fact (along with countless others) contradicts the apologist stance of integration and makes JS look like a fool when the multitude numbers are crunched.

Remember, by this time there had already been wars and contentions (multiple). Since there could only have been a handful of both groups at this time, how come no one was killed as a result of these wars and contentions?

This stuff makes no sense.

July 9, 2007 10:10 PM

tatabug said...

elder joseph, I'm not sure why you felt the need to change the subject but if you want to criticize the BofM over the issue of skin color, then I suppose you would also have to criticize the Bible as well. How do you suppose people of varying skin colors came to be anyway? The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve were the first humans. Were they white? If so, how did people become black, red, brown, and yellow?

Here are some scriptures to ponder: Daniel 11:35, Daniel 12:10, and Lamentations 4:6-8.

I don't have the answers to these questions, nor the answers to numerous other mysteries of God, and I can accept that there are and will continue to be things that we may never know the answers to in this life.

Alma, I like your theory about a messenger speaking in Jesus's behalf. As far as all the other speculation by others about why the same treatment wasn't dished out for everyone, well, we only know what happened according to what our current records tell us. Who's to say that there weren't other similar manifestations to many others throughout the world?

There may also have been manifestations to prophets in the holy land as well, which we don't have records of. We know that not all the records of all the prophets are included in the current Bible. Your assumptions make it seem as though we have every bit of historical information that ever existed, and that since none of it points to these events having happened, then they haven't. That is a very narrow-minded view of things.

But, let's suppose that in fact that Nephi was given special treatment. There were still signs and prophecies given to the Jews. Well, they got Jesus for how many years, and the Nephites got Jesus for how many days? That hardly seems fair.

I just think you've made a mountain out of a mole hill.

July 10, 2007 7:46 AM

tatabug said...

BTW, would anyone care to take a crack at the issue of skin color and the Bible that I raised? I am truly curious. I've never heard anyone try and explain it before, so I would love to hear any kind of opinion or insight, or even an "I really hadn't thought of that before" answer. Thanks!

July 11, 2007 5:48 AM

Zelph said...

tatabug-

You can't be serious? You are rationalizing blatant racism in the Book of Mormon by saying that since there is racism in the Bible that somehow that makes it O.k.? That is your big defense for racism in the Book of Mormon? Everyone else is doing it?

I thought that the Book of Mormon was supposed to be the pure word of God containing the fullness of the gospel. The Book of Mormon is supposed to be "the most correct book". That implies that it is supposed to be better than the bible, and now you are pointing out that it is no different than the bible.

Look, I grew up with the idea that Adam and Eve were white people from Missouri. Regardless of how self-absorbed and racist this view is, if there ever was an Adam and Eve, they would have been from Africa, as that is where the first humans existed and that is backed up by archeology, anthropology and DNA. To say that the dark skin is a curse of God is so racist, I don't know where to begin.

It is the same thing with Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. It was the Europeans that depicted him as a white man. Jesus would have been a short man with darker skin. Europeans depicted him as a white man for propaganda.

The idea that Adam and Eve and Jesus were all white is racist in of itself.

I would like to see a temple endowment film where Adam and Eve are depicted as Africans, Jesus is depicted as a Middle Eastern, and throw some Asians and Hispanics into the mix.

July 11, 2007 10:43 AM
tatabug said...

I don't consider it racism to say how someone's skin color came to be. I'm not saying the Bible is racist, I just wanted to know what opinions others had about how differing skin colors came about. The BofM offers a possible suggestion. The Bible doesn't say how races came to be, but we have to assume that Adam and Eve were of one particular race, whatever that might have been. I just want to know how all the other ones came about. I think it is a reasonable question, and not one to be offended by.

Why is it racist to assume Adam and Eve were white? If you want to play that game, it's racist to say they were black. Why? Because then you've left out all sorts of other races. I cannot believe you want to make an issue out of this. Let's just paint every prominent biblical figure a different color so that everyone feels all warm and fuzzy, and nobody gets their feelings hurt.

Is it really important that white people depict Jesus as being white? (Note that Zelph didn't attribute this issue DIRECTLY to Mormons.) Black people often depict Jesus as black. Would you like to take issue with that too? I guess the only fair way to handle this issue is to say that Jesus was multi-racial, and I mean Heinz 57 multi-racial.

Oh, and BTW, you should know this, but the dark skin wasn't the curse itself. The dark skin was the SIGN that the Lamanites were cursed so that they could be easily distinguished from the Nephites.

Any comments about the TOPIC OF THIS POST with regard to my comment? That would be nice also.

July 11, 2007 11:30 AM

Zelph said...

tatabug,

2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

No doubt that it is saying that the curse was the skin of blackness. If you have any doubt that the dark skin was just a mark and not a curse, read Alma.

Alma 3:6 "And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren"

There it is in black and white. Alma 3:6 says specifically that the mark WAS the curse.

I know we have got a little off track, and this issue will be another post at another time, but the fact is that the Book of Mormon is very clear that the dark skin was the curse that God bestowed on them. The bible says God placed a mark on Cain, but it is the Mormon leaders, particularly Brigham Young that have interpreted this as being the black skin. This implies that Adam and Eve were white and Cain became black because of his sin.

If blacks depict Jesus as being black, then YES, that is just as racist as whites depicting him as being white. He was a Jew. If the Jews depict him as being a Jew, that isn't racist, that is just reality.

However, propaganda is still much different than saying that dark skin is a curse from God. How can you not think that is racist?

July 11, 2007 11:58 AM

Zelph said...

Tatabug- "Why is it racist to assume Adam and Eve were white? If you want to play that game, it's racist to say they were black. Why? Because then you've left out all sorts of other races."

I did not say anything about Adam and Eve being black. It seems that you are putting words into my mouth. As I said, if there existed an Adam and Eve, they would have been from Africa because that is where the first humans came from, not Jackson County, Missouri. I said that they should be depicted as Africans, you are the one that brought up the word "black".

Again, there is an element of racism when you depict a character to be a different race than what they actually were to fit your own race. If Asians depicted Adam and Eve as being Asian to make them feel like they are the original race, that would be just as racist.

If Asians depicted Jesus as being Asian, that would also be just as racist. The only people that can depict Jesus as their own race are people from the Middle East because that is where Jesus was from. It isn't racist to depict Jesus as a Jew, because it is simply reality.

The same thing applies with Adam and Eve. The first humans were from Africa, not the American Continent. To depict them as being white simply makes white people feel like they were the original race, when they were not.

July 11, 2007 12:11 PM

tatabug said...

Genesis 4:15 "And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

You quoted Alma 3:7 and I will continue with verse 8 "And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction."

These verses are similar. In verse 11 of Gen., a curse was put on Cain. But what kind of mark was put on Cain? It had to be an easily recognizable mark, so that whenever anyone saw him, there would be no doubt. Is it possible that the mark could've been made to be hereditary so that people wouldn't go and try to take vengeance on Cain through his family? Just speculating.

You claim it is racist to say that dark skin is a curse. But God is able to curse people(s), and has quite frequently when they are unrighteous. Is this racist to single out an entire race and curse it when it is God who is doing the cursing? I think the dark skin is a relatively mild curse compared to some of his others.

Gen. 24:3, Isaac is not allowed to marry anyone who is a Canaanite.

Lev. 25:44, the Israelites are allowed to take the Gentiles as bondmen and bondmaids (slaves), which God describes as heathens.

Deut. 7:6, Isarelites are God's chosen people, more precious than any other people. Is that racist?

Deut. 7:15, God takes away all of the evil diseases of Egypt from the Israelites, but will lay them all upon those who hate them.

Deut. 7:10, "And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face."

Deut. 11:26-28, a blessing and a cursing.

Not to mention all of the peoples who were utterly destroyed by Moses and the Israelites on their way to possess the promised land. They even killed women and little children, because God told them to kill EVERYONE.

I could go on, but that could take a long time and I think I've made my point.

I'm just interested in knowing how you or others suppose other races came to be, which was my original question. You seem to be quite sure that it isn't as a result of a curse from God, so then what is your opinion? If you still have a belief in the Bible, then you would have to believe that people began as a single race and then somehow, other races came into being. How do you suppose that occurred is my question?

July 11, 2007 4:27 PM

tatabug said...

African, Black. Tomato (long a), tomato (short a). I brought this up because you said,

"I would like to see a temple endowment film where Adam and Eve are depicted as Africans, Jesus is depicted as a Middle Eastern, and throw some Asians and Hispanics into the mix."

I just think you are turning this into a political correctness debate rather than a religious one.

July 11, 2007 4:34 PM

jeremy said...

Just a few random thoughts: I was thinking, if black skin was first (which makes sense if you look at it in a scientific perspective, and dare I say it, evolutionary point of view.) then couldn't some people understand that to mean the mark be white skin? Yeah, the Bible and BoM might say black but if you really believe that the bible has been tampered with then it's reasonable to think that someone along the way has changed the skin color... And if God created man in his likeness does that mean God has black "spiritual" skin? Just thought I'd through it out there...

Also I just wanted to respond to a comment that tatbug made earlier in this topic... Yes there has been several thousand DNA tests made on native americans and remains from groups spanning the Americas.

July 12, 2007 10:53 AM

tatabug said...

jeremy,

Is that a serious answer, or are you being facetious? Either way, I'm not sure I get your point about race. Did you attempt to theorize on how different skin colors came to be? If so, I didn't catch that.

About DNA, without getting into a debate about it, since I think two topics are enough at one time, I'm not saying there weren't ENOUGH people tested, I'm saying that the DNA tests themselves were not thorough, and I will leave it at that. Like I said, it's another topic for another post.

July 12, 2007 1:50 PM

Zelph said...

tatabug,

Let me take a stab at Jeremy's comments. I think what he is saying is that if there was ever a curse, it would be the white skin, not the dark skin because the first humans came from Africa. I don't think he is literally saying that white people are cursed, I think he is just pointing out how if the skin color was a curse, it would be the other way around.

To say that the dark skin was a curse is sure convenient for white Americans to elevate themselves as a higher level of authority.

I think this topic deserves an entire post, so I will bring it up in my next post.

As far as how other races came to be, it is really quite simple-migration and gene pool variations.

July 12, 2007 2:10 PM


Jeremy said...

Zelph, I must admit that I was 50% serious and 50% joking around. And yes, you did understand me correctly. However I'll save further interest in the topic for your upcoming post. :)

July 12, 2007 9:23 PM

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

Let me answer your question regarding black skin is a curse in the bible justifying black skin is a curse in the BOM...both references are a crock of whatever you want to put in there.

How's that?

July 13, 2007 12:42 AM

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

That's a very cerebral response. How long did it take you to think of that? I'll have to remember that one. Whenever you come across something you don't like, don't worry about the evidence, just call it a crock of ****.

How's that?

July 16, 2007 7:45 AM

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

The point I was trying to make is that there never was, isn't now, or ever will be a curse that changes the color of someone (and their posterity's) skin.

Such a curse would be absolutely rediculous and punish innocent people that did nothing more than be born into that particular family.

Not only this, but having a different skin color should not be considered a curse.

Can't you see how dumb this skin color curse is?

July 16, 2007 10:11 PM

Bishop Rick said...

It is nonsense like this (but certainly not limited to just this) that makes me think the BofM and the OT are just a compilation of false teachings.

July 16, 2007 10:13 PM

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick and Zelph,

If neither of you believe in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, then there really is no discussion here. There's no way you will understand. You apparently have no belief in organized religion, so there's really no base for there to be even the possibility of coming to an understanding, so I would be wasting my time. It would be as difficult as trying to convince an agnostic or atheist that there is a God.

Anyway, I would like to see either of you, or anyone else PROVE that there isn't such a curse. You've said there is no such thing, so prove it to me. I suspect it would be as difficult for you to prove there isn't as it would be for me to prove that there is.

As for your gene pool theory Zelph, I would be interested in learning more about the scientific basis behind it. I realize that it is simple to attribute it to genetic variations, and I'm no scientist but in most genetic variations that I know of, they don't always manifest themselves 100% of the time like race does. You can look at the issue of albinism. It's occurrence is due to a recessive gene which lacks melanin. I guess you would have to make a case for it based on a dominant gene basis, but then you still have to deal with those recessive genes in the mix messing things up on occasion.

Alma said...

Two points: The change to "pure and delightsome" was made by Joseph Smith in the 1840 edition in Nauvoo. Later editions used the British edition for a template taken from the Kirtland edition antedating Smith's changes from Nauvoo.

Elijah Abel wasn't ordained by "Joseph himself" he was ordained by Zebedee Coltrin. (See "Black and Mormon" p. 38)

Zelph said...

Alma-

Thank you for pointing out when the changes were made. I do not have the other editions of the BoM.

I edited the post to clarify what I was saying. Joseph Jr. ordained him to the office of Elder on the date I had indicated. Zebedee Coltrin ordained him as a seventy in December of the same year.

tatabug said...

In defense of Brigham Young, I would like to state that his comments have likely been completely misunderstood and taken out of context. That would be an easy thing to do considering how blatant of a statement he made. It sounds extreme even to me. I would like to point out another statement within that same talk he gave. "For their abuse of [the Black African] race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.110)

I found a very interesting article by W. John Walsh which poses a possible explanation for what Brigham Young was referring to in his statement about mixing seed with black people had to do with rape. The virtue of black women was not regarded the same if at all as it was with white women during that time. To many, black people were not human, but animals, and virile white men were sometimes encouraged to take their physical urges out on black women. It is possible that this is what he is referring to, and the death to which he was referring was spiritual death ("Fornication leads to death." The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.271). I know this may sound crazy to you but I would encourage you to give it a chance because he goes into greater detail. There is really no way to know for sure what Brigham meant, and he isn't here to defend or explain what he meant, but he made many statements that would lead one to the conclusion that he isn't racist at all. The link is: http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/blacks_chosen.htm

tatabug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

I didn't say I didn't believe in the bible, I merely questioned the validity of the Old Testament. I didn't say anything about the New Testament.

Regarding your challenge for anyone to disprove that there is a curse...this has already been done. No need for anyone here to do this, although it was mentioned here.

Remember that mankind rose up out of Africa. This race of man had dark skin. We know this stuff now. The statement (although made in jest) about if there was a curse, it would have to be the curse of White skin, would in fact be true.

tatabug,

There never was a curse. This stuff is nothing more than an uneducated explanation of something that could not otherwise be explained...at that time...and JS simply copied this line of thought into the BofM. This is obvious, because God would not be a hipocrite, and would not punish the sinless.

It really is sad that in this day and age, people still believe these fables

Jeremy said...

For some reason I have never thought about the 2nd AF and the curse. If thought logically (according to the LDS beliefs) the curse could not be passed on to the generations. It's taught all the time that you can't pass on sin, missionaries talk about how "silly" original sin is in other religions too, I'm sure very few have actually connected the skin color and "genetic sin" to be just as silly as original sin.

Also, and this is just to think about no real response needed... Wouldn't all children be "pure and delightsome" (or white skinned) until they are approximately 8 years old? the church does teach that children under that age are sinless....

I too struggle with the validity of the old testament. Some of the stories seem to defy logic yet are held as absolute truth and literally happened according to the teaching of the LDS church. And in my mind, if God is the almighty who can do anything, he still has to obey the rules of science or else He'd cease to be God. You know the whole "break a rule = not perfect" thing. Anyway, didn't mean to pull us off topic with that but it is something that I feel people don't consider when they think miracles of God.

Well, this is some good reading, I quite enjoy thinking about the opinions posted here as I hope you enjoy mine.

tatabug said...

With regard to the comments on the 2nd article of faith, Deuteronomy 5:9 says, "...for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." I think you are confusing cursing and punishment. One of the definitions of curse is "afflict." You could say that we are suffering from the effects of Adam's transgression because we are subject to death, both spiritual and physical. When parents make bad choices in their life, their children often suffer severe consequences as a result, but the children themselves are not guilty of anything that they themselves should be held accountable for. Take for instance alcoholism. Children are subject to all kinds of problems when their parents are alcoholics, but the children are not responsible for it, and might I add, shouldn't have to suffer because of it, but nevertheless they do.

I think the definition of punishment in the 2nd article of faith means that we will not be held accountable to God for anyone's sin but our own, meaning we don't have to repent for anyone's mistakes or sins but our own. It will not affect our eternal standing with God in other words. We may be directly or indirectly affected by the mistakes and sins of others, but we will not be punished for them. And I don't believe that the curse of black skin is of an eternal nature, and I don't think it is a punishment. I believe that ANYONE has claim on eternal life if they repent of their sins and live righteously. Am I making sense?

Bishop Rick and Jeremy,

I find it hard to believe that you accept the New Testament but reject the Old. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God,..." The OT writings were THE scriptures of the time, because there was no New Testament yet. Now, granted the OT wasn't quite the same then as it is now. Christ and the Apostles referred to scriptures and events from the OT (referred to then as the "Law," and the "Prophets," and the "Psalms") frequently. So I don't see how you can accept the NT without also accepting the OT. I can see how you can look at an event like the flood and say that it may not have been a universal flood as it seems to indicate, but you have to look at the issue of perspective on the part of those who experienced the event and wrote about it, and then it makes more sense. I just don't see how you can say that because some of the events are too fantastical to believe that they couldn't have happened. Remember, with God, all things are possible. I do believe that he obeys the rules, but he knows more about the rules than we do, and just because they don't happen to fall in line with the rules we've established, doesn't mean they don't square with all the rules that exist.

tatabug said...

I found this at blacklds.org. I thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it with you all. Important to note is that this is by a black woman who is a former anti-mormon.

"Brothers and sisters, black skin isn't a curse. The curse of Cain was eternal separation from God. The curse was never being allowed back in the Father's presence. The curse was knowing that he (Cain) had listened to the wrong voice and failed his mortal mission. That was the curse, not the skin. The dark skin was given as a protection. As my father has so beautifully taught me, black skin isn't a curse, it's a calling. I'd like to think that in the pre-existence, when told I had the opportunity to come to Earth, I chose this skin color just like I'm told I chose my parents (although I'm not so sure about that one). My father and I agree that we've become rather partial to our black skin and certainly hope we take it with us to the next life. After all, we make black look good!

I have a poem here written by Margaret Blair Young entitled He Gifted Us Our Race. Even though Sister Young is white, I think her poem accurately describes our feelings.

It's not a curse but a gift t'us,
The best path we could seek
A place where God can lift us
We kneel; our knees is weak

And when one of us is kneelin',
We understand his fears.
We know what all us is feelin'
We cry each other's tears.

That's just what Jesus done
For all us human folk.
He agreed to come get born
To feel ever' pain and poke.

So's he could understand us,
What it is to be a slave.
So's he could get beneath us
And push us outa the grave

Would you rather be the massa
Or the Roman with his whip?
Would you rather nail the Savior--
Put vinegar to his lip?

Or learn the lessons of sufferin'--
How we nothin' without grace.
Jesus, He give us a callin'
He gifted us our race.

Just makes ya wish ya were black, huh?"

tatabug said...

Here is some historical information regarding blacks and the priesthood that I also found at blacklds.org.

1836: In March, Elijah Abel, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.

1836: In December, Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Seventy.

1844: Walker Lewis, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.

1846: William McCary, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.

1900: Enoch Abel, the son of Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Elder.

1935: Elijah Abel, grandson of Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Elder.

1958: All black Melanesians (Fijians) are given the priesthood (blacks in the Philippians even earlier)

1978: Revelation on Priesthood gives the priesthood to all worthy men regardless of color.

1990: Helvecio Martins becomes first black General Authority Seventy.

Additional blacks were ordained in the early years of the church.
For more information see the History Timeline.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

The things that you mention here beg the question, "Why were blacks of African descent denied the priesthood until 1978?"

If its not black skin, and its not the sin of Cain, what is it?

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

Regarding the scriptures, you know what the bible is don't you? You know that God did not write the bible don't you? You know that the first books of the OT is a compilation of word of mouth stories written down hundreds and hundreds of years after the events were supposed to have taken place, right? And you know that there are no original transcripts so we have no proof (outside the few parallels found in the dead sea scrolls) to collaborate the OT stories, right?

There are many problems with the NT as well, but that is another topic...as is this I suppose.

My point being that just because Timothy says that all scripture comes of God, does not make it so. How do you know that statement was ever really made, or that it is not just opinion?

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

Regarding the scriptures and your comment of how do we know Timothy ever made that statement, well, I guess we don't. I guess we don't really know anything for sure, so I guess we don't have to believe anything we don't like or that doesn't make sense. I guess we can just pick and choose what we like and what we don't like out of the Bible. Don't get me wrong, I know that the Bible isn't perfect, but I don't so easily disregard its contents. I'm not sure that I disregard anything in it, but I know that all things in it shouldn't necessarily be interpreted in a literal sense. That is a complicated issue for another time, though.

Back to the issue of race, there really isn't a clear understanding on the issue of blacks being denied the priesthood for so long, or any other race-related issue, since that information hasn't been revealed as doctrine. But there are many who have tried to comprehend it and explain their understanding or their theories, which can help. I could try to relate them all here, but that could take forever. If you want to understand it better, I suggest you look for further information from the links I've provided in my previous comments, and I can give you more if you'd like.

Zelph said...

Tatabug, I think Bishop Rick draws an excellent point and I think it is relevant to the topic on hand because we are talking about racism not just in the LDS church, but also in the scriptures.

To say that all scriptures are inspired by God is quite convenient, it is like saying I know the Bible is true because it says it is. Of course the scriptures are going to say that, but that is not proof, it is a circular argument.

Now, regarding racism, yes, everybody was racist back then, but you would think that if our church leaders were really men inspired by God that they would be the front-runners in making changes to policies regarding blacks and the priesthood, instead we see just the opposite. The LDS church waited until 1978, well after the civil rights movement and only after new laws threatened the church's non-profit status. It seems that the church is not guided by God, but instead guided by society. What makes it worse is that since they have delusions of being directed by God, that just makes them all that much more stubborn in their position when they are wrong.

The other point is that when you say that "all scriptures are inspired by God", that begs the question, which book contains all scriptures? There are hundreds of different types of Bibles out there, some include the Apocrypha books, and some don't. And what about the Gnostic books? Are those scripture? And the Book of Mormon? Most Christians don't consider it to be scripture, but then Mormons don't consider the Apocrypha or the Gnostic gospels to be scripture either.

What about Brian Mitchell who abducted and raped Elizebeth Smart? He wrote a 900 page manifesto that he calls scripture that you can read here. I will bet if you simply replaced the names to Joseph Smith and Fannie Alger and inserted it in place of D&C 132, I think most Mormons would not know the difference. But then, Brian Mitchell is just being persecuted for his religious beliefs just like Warren Jeffs and Joseph Smith, right?

What if I wrote something down and said it was scripture, would that make it scripture?

People say that we should trust God more than in man. Well, God didn't write the bible, it was written by men. Therefore, to trust in the bible IS putting trust in men.

God did not write the bible, men wrote the bible. Men did not create the Earth, God created the Earth. Therefore to deny what can be seen in nature by looking at the natural world, and taking the bibles word is taking man's word over what can be seen in God's creation.

Jeremy said...

Tatabug,

I just want to clarify what I meant about the bible. I never stated that I think the NT is valid truth either and it too should be scrutinized.

LDS Church leaders often reference the stories in the Old Testament and indicate that they are fact. However they also say that the bible is not perfect. Keeping that in mind, who's to say someone hasn't come along and changed some information? In addition how do we know that the translations haven't lost the meaning of what was originally intended to be there? That doesn't mean someone intentionally changed the words, but doesn't rule it out either.

Since you mentioned the flood, I just want you to step back and think logistically on any scale how you personally, if put in the same situation, would get that many animals on a boat for at least 40 days. The point of having you do that is to illustrate that not all stories in either testament can be taken literally even if some high ranking church official declares them to be factual stories.

So in the end, I think that things in the Bible and the BoM and any other writing should be looked at with the understanding that God himself did not write the words but rather the imperfect man.

Zelph said...

jeremy,

I appreciate your comments and agree with you. I like to bring up the example that the Bible includes a talking snake, which in my book constitutes a fable.

In the temple endowment, the serpent is not depicted as being literally a snake, but as Lucifer. The point is that the general consensus among Mormons is that a snake didn't literally tempt Eve.

So if you follow my logic, since Mormons can accept that the snake in the story is a symbolic metaphor and not literal, why stop there? What other things are not literal? Perhaps the entire story of Adam and Eve was just a fable taught by desert tribesmen.

Jeremy said...

Zelph,

I agree with the idea that the story of Adam and Eve is very likely an educational fable. I also feel that most, if not all, the other stories are also fables.

Anyway, back to the topic of skin color. I found this a little bit ago by accident. I have a book named "Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints", Collected works of Hugh Nibley: Vol 13.

Brigham is quoted on page 187:

The enemy was within and without: "It was pro-slavery men that pointed the bayonet at me and my brethren in Missouri, and said, 'Damn you we will kill you,'" and yet "our difficulties and persecutions have always arisen from the men right in our midst."

If I read the rest of the page correctly he is specifically talking about the people who were "persecuting" the church and not slavery, however what caught my attention was "pro-slavery" and "men right in our midst". Which at first impression of mine was the pro-slavery men were in his midst which could possibly indicate that he too was pro-slavery. However this very well could be just an assumption of mine.

I can't find any further discussion in this book about slavery. Does anyone know if Brigham ever had any slaves? I'm just curious, that's all.

tatabug said...

Okay class. I want everyone to drop their pencils and actually read what I wrote. Some of you have missed some of the points I specifically made and are now taking me to task over them. Jeremy, I'm talking mostly to you, regarding taking the Bible literally. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N cowboy.

Zelph,

It is equally as convenient for you to say that the scriptures are not inspired. That would seem to bolster your take on things, wouldn't it. I don't recall the scriptures ever saying they are true. I know the BofM says to pray to God to find out if it's true, though. Not quite the same thing. And if you want to write something and call it scripture, go ahead. When you are called as a true prophet, I will believe in it so long as it wasn't written BEFORE you are a prophet :). And if you want to put your trust in yourself by deciding what is and isn't true, you are also putting your trust in man. You have become your own prophet. That is why we need the Holy Ghost. That is why we need prophets of God. That is why we need scriptures from them to know what God is trying to teach us. That is why we need prophets to help us correctly interpret the scriptures which may not be always be clear to our understanding.

And yes, the scritpures are written by imperfect men, but those men are prophets, and they are inspired of God, and while many of the details may get botched, the messages and all the really important stuff are in essence true and inspired. The 8th article of faith states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated corrrectly;..." That means, yeah, there are some mistakes and a lot of stuff missing, but for the most part, we accept it as true.

BTW, Joseph Smith corrected a lot of those mistakes, as I'm sure most of you are aware. But, I believe he was inspired and until you can get your heads around that, you won't understand where I'm coming from.

Regarding leaders of the church as front-runners in being politically correct (my interpretation, not yours), they are inspired of God, and they do what God inspires them to do when he inspires them, even if it seems overdue.

I understand that you all regard them as uninspired and that they just made up whatever they felt self-inspired to do. But your argument is falling on deaf ears here. You are assuming that their statements are racist, because they sound like it. Instead of trying to put their statements into context and perspective (I hate to have to keep repeating myself on this one), you want to pick out random statements and tag them with unfair labels like racist. You don't want to believe, therefore you don't take the time to dig deeper and find out the possible meaning and intent behind such statements. You don't want to give the benefit of the doubt. I know, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT MEN. God calls men to be prophets, and he doesn't wave a wand and swish, they're perfect. Joseph Smith said numerous times that he was imperfect and to expect anything other than imperfection from him, the Saints would be disappointed. He also said, "--but there is no error in the revelations I receive." Yes, it's possible that there were some really dumb statements made by general authorities, I won't deny that, but give them a break. I'm sure you've said some dumb things too, and would like people to look at you overall and see that you aren't such a bad person. Just a little stupid at times.

A surety of faith in such things as a prophet of God comes only through the Holy Ghost. You can find out for yourself, or you can drift about life not really knowing what its all about.

Sorry, I know this doesn't flow well, but I'm in a hurry.

Zelph said...

Jeremy-

I have never heard that Brigham Young himself was a slave owner, but it is my understanding that there were 12 Mormon slave owners that possessed between 60 and 70 black slaves in Deseret Territory. There is one Apostle, Charles C. Rich, among these slave owners.

Zelph said...

Tatabug, I understand what you are saying and I do know where you are coming from, because I was in the exact same position a few years ago.

I think you may have a point when you said that I am my own prophet. That is probably true. I would rather trust myself because at least I can be sure what my intentions are.

However, if the Holy Ghost is a real being or just an internal emotion I can't be sure, but if you rely on your emotions, that is also trusting yourself. You are trusting that you have accurately received confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

however, as stated before, if everyone gets confirmation from the Holy Ghost and comes to different conclusions, I don't see how it is a reliable indicator of what is true. You have dozens of different Mormon sects that all say with complete sincerity that their prophet is the only true one and that they are the only ones that follow the teachings of Joseph Smith. They have born their testimony of their prophets and have felt the Holy Ghost bear witness to them that they are in the correct Mormon church.

Jeremy said...

Tatabug,

Let me preface by saying that when you read this, I am not yelling nor am I angry. Just concerned that my words have come across as an attack.

I understand how passionate you are about what you believe. If you asked me a few years ago about these topics I would have been standing right next to you tooth and nail arguing equally if not more however that's because at the time I too believed everything that I was told rather than what I researched for myself. My intention was not to come off as anti-mormon but rather an opinion from someone from the outside who knows what the inside opinion is because I was there once too.

As far as things being confirmed true by the Holy Spirit, I have to agree again with Zelph about that. Everyone gets a different "response" from the HG. And would difficult to tell someone they are wrong about what they are feeling.

When walking the streets of South America I encountered a person who said they prayed about the BoM just like it asked them to and I still recall very clearly their response, they said, "The Holy Ghost testified to me that it was NOT the word of God". This person claimed that they followed the directions exactly how you read it in the BoM and still received that answer. How do you argue with some one's "personal revelation" and testimony of what they believe to be true? You can't argue because it just turns into head butting and a never ending argument over who really was inspired by the HG.

Zelph,

Thanks. I plan to look into that when I get a moment. I am very intrigued to see who owned slaves. I never thought BY had any which is why that paragraph stood out to me, I figured he had enough kids to do the work around the house :) lol.

tatabug said...

Regarding the Holy Ghost. You can't just go around trusting that everyone who says they've felt the Holy Ghost is telling the truth or even knows what the Holy Ghost feels like. That's a confirmation you have to receive for yourself. No one can receive it for you and to trust that someone has felt confirmation of something contrary to what you believe to be right and true is just foolish. That wouldn't be logical and reasonable at all. Don't forget that Satan also has his counterfeits, but they can be distinguished from the Holy Ghost if you know what to look for.

D&C 9:7-9 says:

7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;...

So Jeremy, it is my opinion that the person who said they prayed about the BofM and said they received an answer that it wasn't true was either lying or was deceived. This scripture states that the Holy Ghost doesn't work that way. The Holy Ghost confirms truth, and when something is wrong, there is a "stupor of thought." I also find it interesting considering all the talk of logic and reason vs. spiritual knowledge that we are told to study it out in our minds first, then ask. Seems like it is important for some reason for us to use our minds as well as our faith in order for us to receive spiritual confirmation.

I found some helpful information, since I, myself have had trouble understanding when I've felt the Spirit and when I'm just experiencing a flood of emotion. I can say I've felt both and they are very similar, except in the case of the Spirit, there is an incredible sense of understanding and peace and love for Heavenly Father and desire to improve yourself. This is from Jeff Lindsay:

"Thus, one way to distinguish emotion from the workings of the Holy Ghost is the transmission of knowledge and understanding through its power. It's one thing to feel an emotional rush as your favorite soccer team wins. It's another to feel joy, peace, and understanding as you perceive through divine power that you are a son or daughter of God with divine potential, and that God has led you to a fuller knowledge of who you are through His divine Church.

"Look at the fruits of the Spirit Paul describes in Galatians 5:22,23, and consider those things in seeking to distinguish the Spirit from emotions. When the Spirit is present, there is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, and so forth. It's not all just fuzzy emotion - it's a touch with the divine that drives us to change, to improve, and to have increased faith (often due to the assurance to our MINDS of the reality of the Gospel, based on my experience)."

Jeff then goes on to explain that learning to recognize the Holy Ghost is a skill, and one that must be developed through experience. I can vouch for that. I am still learning.

My suggestion is that you refer back to your own past experiences with the Holy Ghost and try to analyze and understand them. Or if you haven't had any or can't really remember them, try to get some. It's an amazing experience.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

I appreciate your concern about your words coming across as an attack. Your words haven't come across that way at all to me. In fact everyone has been very kind and tolerant of my strong opinions and I appreciate that very much. I should appologize, however, for my sarcasm. I must admit that I got a bit frustrated earlier, feeling misunderstood. You will know when I am frustrated because I may get sarcastic. But I will try to do better. Thank you for your patience.

Jeremy said...

Tatabug,

I do not disagree about the process of feeling the "spirit" and studying things out. I also agree with you about my story with the person who received "inspiration" about the BoM. I knew that person wanted me to tell them they were wrong so they could begin an argument. But I wasn't going to call her out.

I most certainly agree about it being a skill that should be developed by everyone and can easily be confused with over thought and sway from outside influence. However there are many people would not call this the HG and would explain it other ways. In any case it's something that can be difficult to understand and no matter your explanation.

How 'bout that? I actually agreed with you about something ;)

Bishop Rick said...

I have a daughter that I would jump between her and a grizzly bear if I had to. When she asks me a question, I don't tell her to close her eyes while I hit her with multiple answers from multiple sources with only one being the correct answer. But if I were the heavenly father described here, that is exactly what I would do. And in addition, I would make the multiple answers similar, to compound the difficulty of discerning the correct answer. In fact, I would make it so difficult, that it would be considered a skill to be mastered.

Any father that would do that to their child needs to be taken out behind the wood shed, and I would be happy to be the person to take them there.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

I'm so happy we agree on something. I think you made the right move not calling the lady out. It sounds like it would have been pointless.

Bishop Rick,

I think I kind of get your point. Are you saying that what has been described is a Heavenly Father who wants to taunt and confuse his children? I can see how you might feel that way, but I can assure you that you've misunderstood.

Let me ask you this. In your daughter's education, what do you think would benefit her more--remedial level courses or honors level courses (that is assuming of course the honors level courses are not beyond her ability)? At a remedial level, she might learn things, and she would probably pass with perfect scores throughout. At the honors level, she would be challenged. She would be pushed to learn more. She would learn to look at things in a more complex way. She may not make perfect scores, but the learning she would receive would be far above that of a remedial level. She would be more prepared for college or life in general. With my own children, they sometimes try to take the easy way in school and not take the challenging courses, because they are much harder and they have to work hard to get good grades. It's no easy ride. But I know that they need to be challenged. It is in their best interest. Now I'm not saying that I push them to go above and beyond what I think or they think they are capable of. That would be counterproductive. Because of my love for them, I just want what's best for them. But I don't believe that an easy ride through life is what's best for them. I believe they need to be challenged to reach their full potential.

Our Heavenly Father works in a similar, though more perfect way. He knows us better than even we know our own selves. He knows better than us what we need. He knows that it is necessary for us to face challenges in this life in order for us to become stronger, and He personalizes everything according to our individual abilities. I guess you could call it character building. It's kind of like a big test, and some of us will pass, some of us won't do as well, and some of us will fail miserably. But it's all part of God's plan. He loves us beyond comprehension, without exception, no matter what our choices. But He has made it possible for us to know what is true, though it isn't easy. We have to yearn for the truth, and we have to earn it. God does not send out confusing messages. He does not give us multiple choice questions. He gives the truth, and all competing answers are not from him, but are from the adversary, Satan, who has power to confuse and mislead us, and has made it his only goal to do so. It is up to us to discern which is the true message, and as I wrote earlier, there is a way to discern.

I also think that what you are saying is that you think it is supposed to be difficult if not nearly impossible to discern the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Let me see if I can try to give you a better understanding. There are times in my life when I've had powerful, undeniable experiences with the Holy Ghost. But those very powerful ones are few. There are also times when I've felt the Holy Ghost, but in a less dramatic way. There are also times when I've had similar emotions, such as when I watch a touching movie that makes me cry. Both are similar in that it is like a flood of emotion comes over you. But if I pay close attention, I can tell when it's the Holy Ghost and when it's just emotion, because along with emotion, the Holy Ghost gives clearer understanding and knowledge, and you feel gratitude, love, joy, peace, a desire to do good and serve God more fully, and it may make you cry or at least on the verge of tears, depending on how powerful the experience is. You feel connected to God and feel His love for you which is incredibly humbling. This is my understanding based on my experiences, but I hope to gain a greater understanding.

I hope this makes sense and gives you a better understanding of what I believe and of what I've tried to say.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I wanted to respond to your comment about taking scripture stories literally. It is a bit confusing to me also. But when I stop and think about it, details such as whether it was a literal snake or Satan really are not important. The important thing is the event itself in some cases. In others it is the lessons we can learn from the event, whether it is a literal event or not. I think the important messages of the scriptures are an understanding of the nature of God, the reality and mission of the Savior, the principles of obedience, ordinances, commandments, the importance of faith and the Holy Ghost, the plan of salvation, etc. All these things are what really matter. I do like to think that the stories are real. That is comforting to me. It would probably be a great loss to me if they weren't true. I can handle some figurative language and symbolism and the possibility of things being distorted due to someone's perspective. But I don't even want to consider that they could be completely fabricated. That would be earth shattering. But I think it is a topic worth discussing, because how can we know for sure either way, and of what consequence is it?

Jeremy said...

The point that Bishop Rick makes has come up in my mind a few times before. What kind of father would not want to give the most up front, direct answer they could?

I think that's where people get confused about what they are feeling. They want something so bad that they can convince them self of anything if they want it enough. The power of the mind is spectacular in that regard.

Here's where tata and me will disagree.

Although I said I agree about the process of "feeling the spirit" I strongly feel that this guidance that people receive and need to learn to listen to is something more along the lines of instinct and not direct revelation from God. I personally don't have any evidence to support this but I still feel this way. I also think that through the thousands of years of existence someone along the way tried to explain it and since it was easy to say it's from God that's what we stuck with.

I'm not saying there is no "divine inspiration" I'm just saying that I think people are often confused about what they are feeling and to explain it they just claim it's from god.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

I agree that people probably want to know something so bad that they say it is right or that they've received confirmation through the spirit. That's why I've tried to stress the importance of finding out for yourself through the Holy Ghost. But it almost sounds as if you are saying that there isn't a Holy Ghost or that He doesn't guide us. If you want to shrug people's experiences off as instinct or attributing it to God out of not knowing how else to explain it, then you have to deny prophecy and scripture through the process of divine revelation, because the Holy Ghost is the medium, and this is what the prophets teach. You have to say that we are basically left to our own devices. You can't be wishy-washy on this one because it is of such doctrinal importance. At some point you have to choose a side. If you believe in the Holy Ghost, then it is your responsibility to seek its guidance. You can choose not to, because that is your agency, but you cannot choose the consequences of that choice. I may not have completely understood your comments, so please clarify if it seems I'm off-track. But anyway, there is no doubt in my mind that not all people knows how the Spirit operates. When I was a child, I occasionally attended church with my grandparents who are Southern Baptists. They had a full band with drums and guitars and the place would get an excited atmosphere. This is what they attribute to feeling the spirit. But I don't believe that being happy and excited in this sense are accurate manifestations of the Holy Ghost.

Bishop Rick said...

let's clear up the Southern Baptist thing. From what you describe, your grandparents were not Southern Baptists, they were Pentecostals. I used to be Southern Baptist and you would not find bands or Rock music or anything of the kind in any of those church services. In fact, they think that dancing is of the devil. I also have an Uncle who is a Pentecostal preacher, and what you describe is exactly what you would find in one of their services.

Bishop Rick said...

Throughout the history of mankind, religion has been a means of explaining the unexplainable. We have evidence of this dating back tens of thousands of years ago. This evidence predates history (thus prehistory) and continues today on a much more sophisticated level, though the premise is the same. This is why there have been different dominant faiths depending on what part of the world you influenced by. In today's world of mass communication, these boundaries are easily crossed, but that was not the case even 100s of years ago. Don't you find it odd that at one time over 1/3 of the world's population knew nothing about Christianity (or any Abrahamic religion). If you go back far enough (and that's not very far on the timescale of humanity) that figure would be 100%. If you believe the Bible, then totally out of the blue, God's "chosen people" simply emerged. Where the heck were these people 10,000 years ago? Why did this people become "chosen"? Why was this group so isolated from the rest of the world?

Let's imagine that I am a father with the ability to have children from many different races. (Heavenly polygamy makes this a possibility).

I have the following children:

African
Asian
European
Middle Eastern
Aborigine
Indian (from India, not US)
Latin American (an Asian subgroup)

Why is it that I only want Hebrews, a subgroup of Middle Easterners, to have my "priesthood" or the fullness of truth?

Seems a little absurd. Talk about playing favorites. I'm sorry, but this is not eternal wisdom and perfect truth. It is limited knowledge based on isolationism, and has absolutely nothing to do with God, the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Allah, Buddha, Ra or any other god or savior that is nothing more than the product of man.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

I am being completely honest with you about the Southern Baptist thing. Maybe they aren't of the Southern brand but they are definitely Baptist (of that I'm certain) if there is any difference. The name of their church was Southland Baptist Church, and I was not delusional when I attended church with them and saw a drum set and electric guitars and a keyboard. There may have been other instruments as well that I can't recall. There was no Rock music being played, it was strictly religious, but I didn't consider it reverent. They may not have believed in dancing, but I don't know that for sure. There was no dancing going on, but there was some clapping and movement going on. It's not a subject that ever came up. Getting "saved" has always been the issue with my Grandmother, above and beyond even baptism, which is strange since the name Baptist would make you think that baptism was highly important to them. FYI, I've also attended a Pentecostal service, so I do know the difference. I've also been to other Baptist churches, though I don't recall whether or not there was a band. In some cases there wasn't, but in other cases I can't remember. It seemed to me like it had to do with the size of the church. The bigger one (which my grandparents attended) had the band, whereas the smaller ones didn't. Now that I think of it, my best friend in high school did attend a Baptist Church for a while and they didn't allow dancing and her youth pastors frowned heavily on listening to Rock music. They even "banned" Amy Grant from the youth because she also sang some rock music. I made sure to set her straight on those issues. LOL.

Sorry, to have gotten off track with this subject.

Jeremy said...

I am not saying the HG doesn't exist... but it's difficult to prove that the HG does exist. Which is why, just like BR said, people have always found ways to explain the unknown through religion. He also said this on his blog that I thought was very interesting.

"We are taught thru religion to nurture our testimonies and to let them grow. One way to grow your testimony is to bear it. Let me think about that for a minute. If I say something enough times, the more I will believe it. Interesting concept."

The more you think about something the more you will come to like or dislike something. Throw some prayer in there with a dash of Galatians 5:22 and you have got yourself the Holy Ghost... or do you?

I do feel it's very important to make educated decisions about your life. For example, before you buy a car you want to do your homework (study it out in your mind) on what you want, what you expect out of it, how much you should pay, if you can afford it, etc... after all that studying you have to decide based off of reason and feelings if you should buy that car. If you feel that you should pray about it to get more feelings, fine do it. But I could easily say before praying that I felt love, joy and peace about my decision. Which just so happen to be natural emotions people can feel on a daily basis and that can be brought on by anything. Music, Movies, Photographs, Memories, Books, Scriptures, words...

Anyway, I know that BR was just poking fun of the idea of Heavenly polygamy but it does bring up a good point about the races...

God didn't just decide to pick his favorite and give them the truth... in fact I'm convinced of the evolutionary process. One race in the beginning which adapted to the environment and changed as needed for survival over the thousands and thousands of years rather than the far fetched idea that we some how managed to populate the earth approximately 6000 years ago then somewhere around 4000 years ago there was a big flood that destroyed everything except what was on Noah's big boat animals and then some how was able to repopulate the earth with both animals and humans so after about 2000 years Jesus could be born and save us all. Oh, and I had a seminary teacher tell me once that there was a black man aboard the arc so that their race wouldn't be destroyed in the flood. But that would lead me to believe that he would have needed to bring along all the other races too.

So why did I recount the LDS Church's idea that the earth is almost 7000 years old? Because someone along the line couldn't figure out how to explain it so he decided to "pray" about it and so he could be "inspired" and then explain how it all works from his "inspired" point of view. But by those evil men called "scientists" can prove that the earth is much older than that, humans have existed much longer than 7k years and that evaluation does happen despite the official declaration from the church on the origin of man.

Zelph said...

Jeremy, I am with you on so many levels. I believe in evolution because there is now so much evidence of it it isn't a debate anymore amongst scientists with the exception of a select few. Nothing is absolute in science, that is true, but when you look at the evidence when everything points to the same thing, at some point, you have to make some conclusions or you will never get anywhere.

You can never prove with 100% certainty that the world revolves around the sun, but all the evidence points towards that conclusion. In science, if it is ever proven that the sun actually revolves around the earth, it will be accepted, but until anyone finds evidence to support it, it is established the other way around.

That is the other great thing about science is that it is the most open to different theories, meanwhile religions hold on to dogma as being absolute truth, like blacks being denied the priesthood.

Science has demonstrated that humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Although you can never "prove" anything in science with 100% certainty, all the evidence seems to support it. They have found through anthropology, archaeology, radiocarbon dating and DNA that what we can actually see in the natural world shows us very clearly that humans have been around for much longer than 6,000-7,000 years.

The same thing can be found with evolution. There is no doubt in my mind that evolution is real. If people existed before 7,000 years ago, they would have left behind bones and other evidences of their existence. We have found this evidence. We can see their bones. Our DNA can be traced back to our ancestors for thousands of years, including our ancestors of different species.

A big hypocrisy in the LDS church is that we use DNA for ancestry work, but deny it when it disproves the Book of Mormon or the creation account in the Bible.

If there was an Adam and Eve that happened 6,000-7,000 years ago, they would not have been the first and only humans.

Everyone's DNA can be traced back to Africa if you go back far enough, and that correlates with the evidence that we find in Anthropology. The earliest skeletal remains for humans have been found in Africa.

On the other hand, you have absolutely no evidence for the creation account, a global flood or a sudden drop in plant and animal population.

And what about trees that are still alive today that are so old that they have been around since before the flood?

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

Do you even know what you believe? I'm confused because here's what I'm hearing: "I completely agree with you about the process of feeling the Spirit and that learning to recognize the Holy Ghost is a skill that needs to be developed, but the Holy Ghost may or may not exist." So you are in essence saying I don't know if the Holy Ghost is real, but I agree on the principles involved in recognizing it. Do you see the possible contradiction there?

Anonymous said...

I don't look at it as a contradiction. I truly believe that there is an influence that can guide a person who has trained them self to listen to it. However the part I don't necessarily agree with is that it's the HG. Call it what you will, the HG, Intuition, Personal Revelation, your concious, the spirits of passed relatives... what ever.

To me I can't prove or disprove any of these. However I do know that every human and animal is born with a natural instinct that directs them in their life. I can't help but wonder if this is the "Natural Man" we admonished to watch out for.

Jeremy said...

Woops, Anonymous was me... lol

Bishop Rick said...

I also believe in the "still small voice" but I think it comes from within. I don't believe there is a Holy Ghost permeating the earth whispering to everyone. If God has something to say to me, why can't he do it himself? Why does he need a ghost to do it for him?

FYI - The concept of a holy ghost has roots in paganism and buddhism that pre-date christianity.

Jeremy said...

I found this a little bit ago and thought it was interesting enough to share:

"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantage. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.... There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits."

Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, pages 66-67

tatabug said...

I would like to respond to some comments made and so hopefully this will all make sense.

First of all, the comment by Zelph about science being the most open to different theories. Science itself is not open to different theories. Its laws never change. The scientific community is open to new theories because they don't have all the answers. They are still in the process of learning. However, there are certain principles of science that we know which are absolute and which won't change. The law of gravity is one such principle that comes to mind. In relation to religion and LDS in particular, there are certain things which we don't know or completely understand, like race, and we openly admit to that fact. On the other hand there are things we are certain of, like the existence of God. You have branded us as being deluded, and like lemmings to the sea, will follow and do whatever we are told, without realizing the power of the divine that is actually leading us. You either haven't received spiritual knowledge of this for yourself or you have chosen to mistrust yourself with being able to interpret that manifestation, and YOU think WE have trouble trusting in our own knowledge and our own instincts, when in fact it is you who have the problem. I know without a doubt that God lives and I have felt His perfect love for me. I know He has not left me here, on my own, without the ability to feel and know he is ever mindful of me and is there to guide me whenever I am lost, or afraid, or unsure. BR, like a spoiled child, says something like "well if God wants to say something to me, why can't he just do it himself," instead of showing gratitude for God and His love for him and all that He has done for him. That just makes me angry. You people have your eyes closed and your hands over yours ears because you are too afraid to trust. You look at everything through the lens of skepticism and are blinded to the good. You look at the history of the church and the imperfections of its people and scrutinize everything without seeing how very much good there is in it. For those of you who are or were members, you know what it's all about. Didn't it teach you good things? Weren't you taught to be a better person and love and serve others of all races and religions? Were you ever asked to do anything which was wrong or against your will? Weren't you told to read and study and learn and pray and have faith? Is there anything wrong with these things? Have you too felt Father's love for you? You all want to prove everything before you will actually cling to anything, as if you have the ability to prove anything. Anything that has been proven is because of someone else's work, someone else's interpretation, someone else's knowledge. YOU put your trust in man, because that is the source of your knowledge. Putting trust in men is the very thing members of the church have been condemned for doing. Well at least we can say with confidence that the men we trust are God's servants. Sorry for sounding harsh, but I thought you all needed a good scolding. I wasn't what I had originally had in mind, but inspiration hit.

BTW, we probably have more in common with regard to evolutionary thought than you might think. I happen to think that evolution is quite compatible with the gospel and am open to all possibilities.

Jeremy said...

I felt "inspired" to respond to tatabug's last comment:

"Its laws never change. The scientific community is open to new theories because they don't have all the answers." –True
"In relation to religion and LDS in particular, there are certain things which we don't know or completely understand, like race, and we openly admit to that fact." – Did a prophet say that?
"On the other hand there are things we are certain of, like the existence of God." – No argument. Like they do in science, the idea of God or a higher being is widely accepted among the majority of people regardless of their religion.
" You have branded us as being deluded, and like lemmings to the sea, will follow and do whatever we are told, without realizing the power of the divine that is actually leading us." – When president Hinckley tells you to do something in the church doesn’t the entire church do it?
"You either haven't received spiritual knowledge of this for yourself or you have chosen to mistrust yourself with being able to interpret that manifestation, and YOU think WE have trouble trusting in our own knowledge and our own instincts, when in fact it is you who have the problem." - YOU say this because WE think differently than what YOU were taught by THEM.
"I know without a doubt that God lives and I have felt His perfect love for me. I know He has not left me here, on my own, without the ability to feel and know he is ever mindful of me and is there to guide me whenever I am lost, or afraid, or unsure." – No one here has denied you of this, I support the idea of a loving more powerful being.
"BR, like a spoiled child, … instead of showing gratitude for God … That just makes me angry." – Sorry it bothers you. You still love him as a child of God don’t you?
" You people have your eyes closed and your hands over yours ears because you are too afraid to trust." – Trust who? The man who wrote the Book of Mormon, or the man who currently leads the followers of the church?
" You look at the history of the church and the imperfections of its people and scrutinize everything without seeing how very much good there is in it." - Every church tries to do "good things" and that’s fine, I don’t care if you are atheist and do good things but the overwhelming evidence that the church was established by deception is where there is a problem.
" Didn't it teach you good things? Weren't you taught to be a better person and love and serve others of all races and religions? Were you ever asked to do anything which was wrong or against your will? Weren't you told to read and study and learn and pray and have faith? Is there anything wrong with these things? Have you too felt Father's love for you?" – Of course, but couldn’t you also claim that most other organized religions also teach this? These are the principles that most people who believe in God abide by. Anyone who is diligently looking for truth will no doubt be practicing these things BUT that doesn’t mean they have to be a Mormon to do it.
" You all want to prove everything before you will actually cling to anything, as if you have the ability to prove anything. Anything that has been proven is because of someone else's work, someone else's interpretation, someone else's knowledge. YOU put your trust in man, because that is the source of your knowledge." – I regret to inform you but YOU have done the same. You trust that in some feeling that you felt after reading a book that was published by a Man who claimed it was from God and now that you feel that it is scripture YOU trust that the rest of it is true. Do you ever kneel down and pray after every general conference to make sure that what they told you was true? Do you ask God after Sunday school every week that to reassure you that what you learned that day was true, that you weren’t lead away from someone who happens to be your Sunday school teacher? You have been trained to trust in someone else’s work without ever questioning it.
"I wasn't what I had originally had in mind, but inspiration hit." – Oh I get it, because you can receive inspiration for someone else that you do not have stewardship over. Or was Pavlov your Sunday school teacher and he trained you to spout out the "canned" LDS responses to people who don’t think like you do every time someone rings a bell?
I was okay with your scolding until I realized that you felt inspired to tell me that I am wrong and that I can only believe in what you think I need to believe because that’s what you were taught in church.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

"No argument. Like they do in science, the idea of God or a higher being is widely accepted among the majority of people regardless of their religion."

God is not a scientific principle and isn't taught as such. My comment was in response to Zelph who says religious people hold on to Dogma as being absolute truths. My point was that there are absolute truths in science as well as religion.

"When president Hinckley tells you to do something in the church doesn’t the entire church do it?"

Yes. But you must consider as I stated earlier that at least the men we choose to put our trust in are God's servants. You can't say that. You must also consider that we are not forced to follow, and when we have doubts, we can pray for understanding. However, you've said that such feelings can't be trusted. But when revelations like priesthood authority being available for all worthy men come about, most, if not all, members welcome it, so there wouldn't be much need for doubt there.

"YOU say this because WE think differently than what YOU were taught by THEM."

No. I say this because of everything you've said to me that says you can't completely trust the Spirit, because it might just be regular, everyday emotions. But then I'm not completely sure where you stand on the issue because you haven't been clear.

"No one here has denied you of this, I support the idea of a loving more powerful being."

But its seems you deny that He communicates to us and guides us through the Holy Ghost which was my point. Otherwise, how can we be aware of His presence in our lives?

"Trust who?"

Trust God. Trust the Holy Ghost and its promptings.

"but the overwhelming evidence that the church was established by deception is where there is a problem."

That is your perception. There is no "evidence" of this. I have just as much "evidence" to the contrary, but neither of us can prove anything. That's what the Holy Ghost is for.

"I regret to inform you but YOU have done the same. You trust that in some feeling that you felt after reading a book that was published by a Man who claimed it was from God and now that you feel that it is scripture YOU trust that the rest of it is true..."

But the point you seem to be missing is that the "feeling" I'm trusting in is more than just a feeling. It is so much more than that, and I know enough to know the difference. I'm sorry you refuse to understand that.

"I was okay with your scolding until I realized that you felt inspired to tell me that I am wrong and that I can only believe in what you think I need to believe because that’s what you were taught in church."

I'm sorry if I offended you. It was not my intent. All of my words were meant out of the greatest concern for you. It was my crappy attempt to get your attention. You are looking beyond the mark. You are looking to explain things away that you don't understand either because you don't want to, or you are too afraid to, or something. I just don't get that and it's difficult for me to deal with. And I do have stewardship with regard to you, in the sense of being concerned. You are my brother even though I don't know you, and it is the responsibility of each of us, as brothers and sisters, to help each other. As far as my comment about being "inspired," I did not mean it in the way you interpreted it. I just didn't know of a better way to say what I meant. I only hope you will try and see the good in what I've said and make use of it.

Zelph said...

tatabug-

I am not a scientist. However, the way science has been explained to me by scientists is that there are no absolute truths in science. Even the laws of physics are theories that can be changed if they are proven wrong. As I said, right now, it is generally agreed upon that the Earth rotates around the sun, but that could change if it is ever proven wrong. I don't think anyone is trying to prove the sun revolves around the Earth, but I would love to see them try.

In science, there is no absolute truth. Right now, it is agreed that 1+1=2, but if that was ever proven to be wrong, they would change it. Once again, I don't think anyone could prove differently for that example.

Laws are based on theories. In science, the law of gravity can be changed if it is ever proven wrong. however, all the evidence supports the theory of the law of gravity.

In science, its laws change all the time. If you understand what science is, you would at least know that. A fact is not something absolute or concrete, it is something that is generally agreed upon and can change if ever disproved, like the law of gravity.

As far as your beliefs, you have every right to believe whatever you want to believe. If you believe in a book, that is great too, however, if someone tells me it is a real history of people that actually existed, there better be some evidence to support it.

The LDS church says just to pray about the Book of Mormon and if you feel good, that is the holy ghost telling you it is true. Muslims read the Qur'an and feel the same thing, does that mean it is true too?

The problem is that if the church makes a claim that the people in the Book of Mormon were real, there should be some evidence to support it, however, there is not one piece of evidence, not one city, now, we aren't even sure where the hill Cumorah is.

Jeremy said...

Okay, this is turning into a “you said, I said” battle. Lets start over.

I think we can both agree that it is widely accepted that there is a God, that there is an influence that the majority of people could recognize as the Holy Ghost or the Spirit. We also agree that there was a person named Jesus who taught many things during his ministry. I also agree with you that there was another person named Joseph Smith who produced a book which he called scripture and he started a church that we know as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We also agree that said church does a lot of good in the world and teaches many great things to people such as love they neighbor and give of yourself.

However, I disagree with you that said church is the true church upon the earth. And a lot of it has to do with exactly what Zelph is talking about. It’s based off a book that is taught by the believers as a factual history. I don’t know of any history books that have no supportive evidence. Since no one can find anything that can remotely prove the existence of the people, places and stories in the book you are invited to pray about it to see if it feels right. Right here I bet you are thinking, well that proves it true. But it doesn’t. Feelings are extremely subjective.

I was going to start listings the scriptures that reference things that are in direct conflict with historical evidences however, I feel that it would be a waste of time unless you are truly interested in seeing them.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I think I understand where you are coming from with regard to science, and maybe the reason we are not understanding each other is because I'm using the word science in the sense of unchangeable laws at work. These are the laws by which God operates. And I think you are talking about science in the correct sense of the word, which is a branch of study. I think what you are saying is that our understanding may change with regard to scientific laws and theories, which I completely agree with. My point, however, is that there are laws at work that do not change, even if we are ignorant of them. Theories and our understanding of scientific laws may change, and we may even discover new laws to add to our knowledge, but there are laws which are absolute. That is how I relate it to religion. God is an absolute in religion. Our understanding of Him may change as we gain more knowledge, but his reality doesn't change. But I could argue that gravity will not change either, only our understanding of it. Do you get my point?

And the church doesn't simply say that if you feel good about it, then it's the Holy Ghost. There's more to it than that and the principles behind the Holy Ghost are taught, though it is difficult to describe it accurately in words, and particularly harder since not everyone has the exact same experience.

Do you also require evidence that God exists? If so, I'm interested to know what that evidence is, and I'm sure many atheists would be interested as well, and I think you need more proof than it "feels" right. If you want to prove the Book of Mormon is not true, you need to produce evidence that it isn't true and lack of evidence is not evidence of anything. There is physical evidence to point to its plausibility, but there is no evidence, short of a lack of evidence, to prove conclusively that it isn't true. There have been arguments made against the Book of Mormon saying that it isn't true because this or that didn't exist there at this time, and when one thing is proven to have existed, it is ignored and people move on to the next "unproven" assertion in the BofM. I suppose it won't be accepted until every possible perceived problem is completely squared away. But even then, I wonder.

Jeremy,

I'm interested in those scriptures you are talking about, but just as a warning, they will likely not change my opinions.

Anonymous said...

Before reading this keep in mind that you are welcome to study it out in your mind and pray about it after you have pondered some time. Also, I do expect to get the standard LDS rationalization from you saying things along the lines of "You are just nit picking", "You find small things and pull them out of context", "You have never really received a spiritual confirmation about the book", "these things aren't relevant to your salvation", "You can't prove they didn't exist", "You trust in man and not God", "No one knows where these cities were, thats why you cant find artifacts".

Just so you know, these kinds of responses have been well over used.

I don't want you to suddenly read these and think, Oh my "heck" you are so right. That's not what I'm trying to do... But rather I would like to get people to step back and evaluate what is being read. People in the church often accept things as truth just because other people say they are.

With that said here are only a few scriptures, and few because I'm just tired of looking them up:

"1 Nephi 1:2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians."

According to the BoM Lehi is an Israelite not Egyptian. Okay, maybe he learned Egyption and wanted to write some stories in his pidgin Egyptian words. By the way, so far no evidence of the use of Egyptian writing has been found in pre-Columbian America.

"1 Nephi 2:8 And it came to pass that he called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof.

2:9 And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!
"

Wonder what ever happened to this river… Seems that we can find the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan but not this river?

"Enos 1:20 …and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax"

A Cmimeter is a curved sword with the sharp edge on the convex side. This type of sword did not exist at the time Enos was supposedly written (ca. 500 BCE). Indeed there is no evidence that swords of any kind existed in pre-Columbian America.

"Enos 1:21 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses."

Cattle and Horses were brought over by the Europeans; there are no fossils of these animals prior to this time.

"Jarom 1:8 And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war -- yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war."

This was before steel existed to the Ameriacas and no one has ever dug up a steel sword in the Americas that they can connect to the native Americas during this time period. However, they have found stone and stick artifacts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel#History_of_steelmaking

"Mosiah 8:11 And again, they have brought swords, the hilts thereof have perished, and the blades thereof were cankered with rust; and there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates. Therefore I said unto thee: Canst thou translate?"

More swords… but I’ll give you this one cause they were "cankered with rust".

"Mosiah 9:9 And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land."

The Europeans hundreds of years later introduced Wheat and Barley.

"Mosiah 9:16 And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle."

Those darn swords again…

"Alma 11:4 Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value."

Like the swords, cities and horses, these coins and monetary systems can not be found. Ask a Native American when their ancestors started using coins. You’ll be surprised.

"Alma 18:9 And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.

18:10 Now when king Lamoni heard that Ammon was preparing his horses and his chariots he was more astonished, because of the faithfulness of Ammon, saying: Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them.

20:6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his horses and his chariots.
"

More Horses! And looks like there were some type of wheeled transport… bet no one has ever found one.

"Ether 7:9 Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him;"

This one is even better than the other swords, because it was during the time of the Jaredites… which, according to the BoM, was even before the time of Lehi.

"Ether 9:18 And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man."

"Ether 9:19 And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms."

Cattle, oxen, cows, sheep swine, goat , horses, asses and elephants did not exisit in this part of the world during the time period. And when I say this part of the world I mean anywhere on the Americas.

"Ether 15:2 He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children."

More swords AND that’s a lot of bodies that haven’t found concentrated in one place.



1830 Edition vs Current Edition

# 1830: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God.
Now: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son God. 11:18

# 1830: Behold, the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!
Now: Behold, the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! 11:21

# 1830: yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world
Now: yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world 11:32

# 1830: and Jesus Christ, which is the Lamb of God
Now: and the Messiah, which is the Lamb of God 12:18
(This was changed to avoid contradicting 2 Nephi 10:3, which first reveals to Nephi the name of Christ.)

# 1830: ...the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father...
Now: ...the Lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father... 13:40

# 1830: ...and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord...
Now: ...are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord...20:1
2 Nephi

# First appearance of the word "Christ" in the modern BoM. "Christ" appeared earlier (1 Nephi 12:18) in the 1 830 edition, but was changed to "Messiah" to avoid contradicting this verse. 10:3

# 1830: ...they shall be a white and delightsome people...
Now: ...they shall be a pure and delightsome people.... 30:6
"White" was changed to "delightsome" to try to soften the obvious racism of this prophecy.
Mosiah

# 1830 version: "...that king Benjamin had a gift from God..."
Now: "...that king Mosiah had a gift from God..." 21:28
Since King Benjamin was dead at the time, this change was needed to avoid the obvious error.
Alma

# 1830: ... the Son of the only begotten of the Father ...
Now: ... the only begotten of the Father ... 5:48

Bishop Rick said...

If that is not evidence, I don't know what is.

Bishop Rick said...

Another note. When I was baptised, I didn't have a set of scriptures and my Bishop gave me a used set that was printed in 1977. It said "white and delightsome". It wasn't until after the "revelation" about blacks and the priesthood that this change was made.

I can still remember vividly being asked to read that scripture in Elders Quorum at BYU, and being corrected. I stood my ground stating that I did not read it incorrectly. Seems I was the only one in the class that had the older version of the BofM. When I showed my copy to them, they were all surprised. That is the first time I questioned something regarding the church. I couldn't understand how a perfect book would need to be changed. As it was, it didn't concern me that much, but for a day or two, it was a shock to my system.

Jeremy said...

BR,

I was just merely providing information to help you study these things out, not to prove. Please make sure that you ponder and study what you have read and of course, most important, pray to receive confirmation from God through the HG that you have made the right conclusion.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

I will spare you the standard responses, which actually apply in some of the cases you cite. But I will instead offer you some additional responses.

First of all, I've debated the issue of metal with Zelph on YouTube. There is not conclusive evidence, but there is possible evidence that I've read about of the existence of metals and swords. But I won't go into details because it would probably bore you.

In terms of animals, there is also inconclusive, though possible evidence of some of the animals you mentioned as having existed pre-Columbian. Those animals are horses, elephants, chickens, and swine. Again, I won't bore you with the details. Just know that I have read about possible evidence and would be happy to give additional information on request.

There is also evidence of pre-Columbian domesticated barley having been found in Arizona.

Coins. The text of the BofM does not mention coins, but speaks of various measures of gold and silver. The heading of that particular chapter does mention coins, but that was presumptuous on the part of whoever wrote it.

The River of Laman:

"An excellent candidate location for the River of Laman and the Valley of Lemuel has been found in an entirely plausible location. Photographic evidence and other documentation is provided in George D. Potter's article, "A New Candidate in Arabia for the Valley of Lemuel," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1999, pp. 54-63. Potter reports that in looking for a well in Arabia, about 8 miles north of Maqna on the Gulf of Aqaba, he stumbled across a magnificent narrow canyon that ended in a palm-lined cove on the coast of the Red Sea. The canyon actually has a small stream that flows continually, throughout the entire year, and is surrounded by very tall mountain walls. This valley is known as Wadi Tayyib al-Ism ("Valley of the Good Name"). The article is available to FARMS members online, but to see the photos, you need to read the printed publication."

There are two nice photos, however, on Jeff Lindsay's website if you'd like to see them. They are quite beautiful.

I know that all of this hasn't been proven, but since it is possible to be proven with time, I am content to wait and see what comes of it all before jumping to conclusions. What will it hurt? I'm happy.

Now, I would like to ask you some questions.

How would Joseph have known about the beginning of cement use around the 1st century B.C. according to Helaman 3:9-11? Recent decades have produced evidence that its use began about when the BofM says it did.

Where would Joseph have gotten the idea of writing on metal plates? That idea at the time was laughable, but now there is evidence of its usage.

If the gold plates never existed, how did Joseph get numerous witnesses to stand by their stories until their dying day, even when some became angry and left the church?

If the Book of Abraham is a fraud how do you account for the details in the text that would later be given extensive support by numerous ancient documents that were not available to Joseph?

How do you account for the existence of obviously intentional Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon? Chiasmus, in case you didn't know, is a form of parallelism used as a poetical structure in some ancient writings of the Middle East and Greece. Alma 36 is the most powerful example in the Book of Mormon, and you can also find examples in Isaiah and Leviticus in the Bible. How could Joseph have known about this form of poetical structure, or did he just happen to get lucky?

I could ask more questions along these lines, but I'm tired of looking them up too.

Jeremy said...

I am quite impressed, I really was expecting a more standard come back. Star for you.

If there really was steel I want to see it. Is it in a museum in Salt Lake? Same with the animal remains, where are they? Are they on exhibit somewhere labeled, animals from the book of mormon? Can they connect the barely with the book of mormon?

I will give you the coin thing though... let's just settle on the apostle that wrote the chapter titles was wrong. (Did I just say an apostle was wrong?)

I do find the questions you asked very interesting and plan to respond however I've never been asked them before. I will put them on my list of things to study. I have read up a little on the cement thing but not too much, not enough to have a strong opinion either way about it.

But I will continue to argue about the Book of Abraham. I don't know what details you are referring to though.

I looked at jefflindsay.com, I like it and Zelph you would be interested in this DNA Research.

So, again, I've not been asked those things so I'll have to see what I can find. But Now for the standard responses that get people no where:

Did you ponder and pray about it?

You are putting your trust into these men who are doing the research. People get ex-communicated from the church for trusting in man more than God you know.

You're just taking things out of context.

(and my favorite) Prove it to me!

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

I must confess, all the information I've read about metals in Mesoamerica comes from highly biased sources, namely Jeff Lindsay and FARMS. I can't tell you anything beyond what they've written, and I do try to check their sources when possible. So if you want to know what I know, start there. Admittedly, there isn't conclusive evidence, only possibilities. One of those possibilities I found was that there is evidence of its use in the language of Mesoamerica as early as 1500 B.C. and maybe even earlier which could account for its occurrence in the Jaredite civilization. Evidence from the language also indicates that there was knowledge of the metallurgic arts prior to 900 A.D.

Information on animals is scant. Like I said there are possibilities but no conclusive evidence. The information I've gotten about this subject also comes from Jeff Lindsay.

With regard to the Book of Abraham, here is just a sampling from Jeff Lindsay:

Since Joseph Smith's day, numerous sources have been discovered that point to the existence of recorded writings from Abraham. The previously mentioned Apocalypse of Abraham, the Testament of Abraham, and Jubilees are examples. Many other documents suggest that Abraham kept written records, or that records containing the words of Abraham existed. The Babylonian Talmud calls the book of "Jashar" the "book of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (p. 123). The Muslim writer al-Masudi (died 956 A.D.) wrote that God revealed ten sacred books to Abraham (p. 353). Vettius Valens (A.D. 102-152) wrote a treatise on astrology that mentioned Abraham, referring to what "Abraham showed us in his books about this subject, clarifying the explanations of others and his own, discovering and testing other things, especially concerning the beginnings of journeys abroad. . ." (p. 477). Firmicus Maternus in the fourth century refers to a "tractate excerpted from the books of Abraham" (p. 479).

This link will give you more information:
http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/boa.shtml

Yes, I am putting my trust in these men. It just so happens that I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the Prophet Joseph Smith and since these guys do too, I feel safe putting my trust in them insofar as their apologetics go. I can't say that everything they say is true, but even if it weren't true, the fact still remains that I have a testimony with or without this infomation. My testimony is not based on physical evidence. If I didn't have a testimony prior to my knowledge of apologetic evidences and opinions, it wouldn't be smart to put my trust in them. I've read some anti-mormon opinion, but I personally think most of it pales in comparison to Mormon apologetics. Perhaps the strongest case that the anti-mormons make is in regard to the lack of supporting physical evidence for the BofM. But lack of evidence isn't proof of anything. There are some good arguments to be had with the BofA too, but it suffers from a lack of evidence as well, since a majority of the original papyri are missing. I know Zelph will argue tooth and nail that we have all the papyri that Joseph used for the text, but I disagree.

Bishop Rick said...

Jeremy,

I have been aware of the things you mentioned for years and have already studied them extensively, so no worries.

Tatabug,

We do know that some forms of metalurgy are known in mesoamerica, but nothing to the extent described in the BofM. They used soft metals that could be hammered and used in the making of Jewelry and artifacts, but never used metal to create weapons of war, and certainly not to the extent of arming thousands, even millions of warriors. The reason the Aztecs were defeated so easily was due to their lack of metalic weaponry. Otherwise the Spaniards would not have stood a chance against the overwhelming numbers.

You don't have civilizations that number in the millions just vanish overnight with no trace of technology passed on to survivors. This one is so utterly obvious it boggles the mind that apologists even attempt their feeble plausability explanations.

The only evidence of horses and elephants predates the BofM by 10,000 years. There is no evidence since then prior to the Spaniards.

A small stream that empties into a opening is hardly comparable to a River that empties into a valley. It is just way to small a scale.

Where is this evidence of cement in the ancient americas? I have just spent 2 hours googling, yahooing, and in general searching for any instances and came up with a big Zero.

Joseph fooled the "witnesses" by telling them to close their eyes and imagine the plates. No one ever saw them uncovered with their natural eyes...this guy was quite the con man.

The fruitless argument about supposed missing papyra still does not account for the facsimiles that have been categorically refuted...the BofA is a fraud.

chiasmus proves absolutely nothing, and even if it did, you gave the sources yourself.

This can go on and on. There is a mountain of evidence, yea even mountains, that refute the BofM and BofA, yet you say the only argument is lack of proving evidence...incredible.

Jeremy said...

I wish I had the time today to look at those things... But I plan to soon. I just wanted to ask a couple quick things...

Didn't they find the scroll that the BofA was from? I heard that some time in the 60s a Chicago museum actually had it for a while with a letter of ownership that was hand written by Emma. The reason for the letter was because she sold it after the death of Joe. But now the church has it in their possession. Is this accurate?

BR, do you know where that information is on the "witnesses"? That's a story for my scrapbook. It'll go next to the picture of me in my missionary attire.

The thing that I vaguely recall reading about cement was in fact published by farms AND I'm pretty sure it was more of mix of mud rather than cement as we know it today.

This really is the song that never ends. I'm still going to look up that stuff some time however I think we can all agree that at this point we need to study it out in our minds and then pray about it. I can tell you right now I already feel really good about my decision.

Zelph said...

Jeremy- Regarding the Book of Abraham-

I would suggest that you watch the video The Lost Book of Abraham. It is well documented and although it has some Evangelical overtones, it is pretty accurate and factual.

"Did they find the scroll that the BoA was from?

Yes they did.

"Some time in the 60s a Chicago museum actually had it for a while with a letter of ownership that was hand written by Emma.

Not quite. The mummies that came with the papyri scrolls were given to the Chicago museums and it was believed that the scrolls remained with the mummies. The mummies were destroyed in the Chicago fires and it was believed for decades that the papyri were also destroyed. It turns out that the Papyri were in possession of the New York Metropolitan Museum, they were discovered in 1967 by a University of Utah professor and given to the church. On the back of the papyri was the map of Kirtland and along with the papyri fragments was an affidavit from Emma Smith.

The papyri fragments are currently in possession of the church, but they don't like people to know this, especially members, because it turns out what Joseph thought was the Book of Abraham was just a common funerary text called the Book of Breathings. You can read the actual translation from BYU professor Michael Rhodes here

Have they recovered all the fragments that were in possession of Joseph Smith? No, however, it is evident that the fragments that we do have were in fact the same ones used in the translation process of the Book of Abraham.

Bishop Rick said...

Jeremy,

There are many accounts that testify of the spiritual nature of the witnessing. Here are a few:

"Joseph then produced a revelation for Oliver, David and Martin which stated that if they relied upon God's word and did so with a full purpose of heart they would "have a view of the plates, and also the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim & Thummim, ... and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi"

(History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 53)

So they go to the woods and first spend a prolonged time in prayer. Nothing happens. They pray more. Nothing happens. Martin Harris volunteers to leave the group because he senses the others think he was the reason nothing was happening. As soon as Harris leaves, the others claim to see the angel and plates, though there is no mention of any of the other items that had been promised. According to Joseph Smith's history, Joseph then goes to find Harris, and while praying together, Harris cries out, "Tis enough, tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;"

(Ibid, p. 55).

Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and to disbelieve that they had ever seen an angel. One of the Quorum of the Twelve — a young man full of faith and good works, prayed and the vision of his mind was opened, and the angel of God came and laid the plates before him, and he saw and handled them, and saw the angel.

(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1860, 7:164)

Bishop Rick said...

Please note that these references are LDS Church documents, not anti-mormon documents. They are also easily accessible for verification and to make sure that the quotes listed were not taken out of context which is the knee-jerk response of apologists.

tatabug said...

Cement:
I thought this quote was interesting. It reminds me of our own little arguments. Perhaps someday my arguments will also receive vindication.

In 1929 LDS Church president Heber J. Grant recalled: "When I was a young unmarried man, another young man who had received a doctor's degree ridiculed me for believing in the Book of Mormon. He said that one lie in the Book of Mormon is that the people had built their homes out of cement and that they were very skillful in the use of cement. He said there had never been found, and never would be found, a house built of cement by the ancient inhabitants of this country, because the people in that early age knew nothing about cement. He said that should be enough to make one disbelieve the book. I said: 'That does not affect my faith one particle. I read the Book of Mormon prayerfully and supplicated God for a testimony in my heart and soul of the divinity of it, and I have accepted it and believe it with all my heart.' I also said to him, 'If my children do not find cement houses, I expect that my grandchildren will'" (in Conference Report, April 1929, 129).

There is an article at FARMS regarding cement technology in Mesoamerica. It is now a well-established archaeological fact that cement technology existed then and the earliest known sample dates to the first century A.D. The reference for this article is
David S. Hyman, Pre-Columbian Cements: A Study of the Calcareous Cements in Prehispanic Mesoamerican Building Construction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1970). So Jeremy, it wasn't just mud.

River of Laman:
BR, the Book of Mormon calls it a river. It didn't say it was a huge river or a small river. Just a river. The dictionary definition of a river is "a natural stream larger than a brook."

Chiasmus:
Yes, Chiasmus is in the Bible, but Chiasmus is not an obvious form of poetry to someone who is unfamiliar with it. I suggest you learn more about it before you make assumptions about it.

BofA:
There is no proof that we have the papyri Joseph used. Zelph has repeated this line to me but has not given me any proof of this. It is his interpretation of the evidence.

Circumstantial evidence for the Book of Mormon:
1. There is the testimony of the witnesses.

2. The youth and inexperience of Joseph Smith at the time when he took full responsibility for the publication of the book - proof (a) that he could not have produced it himself and (b) that he was not acting for someone else, for his behavior at all times displayed astounding independence.

3. The absence of notes and sources.

4. The short time of production.

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

I just thought these were interesting. You can read more about this and the witnesses of the BofM with this link: http://www.jefflindsay.com/bme12.shtml

Jeremy said...

About the cement... okay, i really haven't read much about it. Not interesting to me enough to worry too much about it.

Chiasmus, this seems like something you can't be certain about. For all we know Joe could have picked it up along the way, maybe not school but this doesn't seem like something that he could not have learned. He was a very smart person, just not necessarily the most honest.

I think since he was a farm boy he had a lot of time to think about things while working in the field. I speculate that some of these stories in the BoM have come from the imagination from the field and have be run through his head over and over again. Anyway, that's pure speculation.

BofA, I don't know how much evidence you need but it seems pretty clear that the church does have the scrolls and they have been looked at by a number of experts. It would seem awfully silly for him to use the drawings from one scroll and then "translate" another.

Here's something to think about... when "translating" the plates, Joe would place his seer stone (the same one he used in treasure hunting) in a hat and would pull it tight to the face and he would read each word clearly on the stone. Once he completed a sentence or paragraph Martin would read it back to him, if it was correct the words would disappear and the next section would start to appear in the stone. Keeping that in mind, why would the church need to "make a few minor corrections" to the perfect book before printing a new edition? After all he wouldn't continue unless it was written correctly. I'm not pulling this out of my hat, this is found in the church history.

Also in the church history, it was reported by Joe himself that buried with the plates was the urim and thummin and a breast plate that held said articles "to aid in the translation of the plates" But why would he use his magic rock in a hat over the items that accompanied the plates to translate. Also, why would he not even be looking at the plates if that's what he's translating? Where were the plates during the process? That's one BIG hat if they were in there with his rock.

This really seems to be a whole other topic. Maybe at some point we could get a stab at this one with fresh minds.

tatabug said...

I can see how the issue of cement isn't very interesting, especially considering it doesn't support your point of view very well.

Chiasmus is not something that happens by chance. It is deliberate but one will not detect it unless they know what to look for. It is a very fascinating structure. Here is a short example:
(a) And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the NAME of Christ

(b) must be CALLED by some other name;

(c) therefore, he findeth himself on the LEFT HAND of God.

(d) And I would that ye should REMEMBER also, that this is the NAME

(e) that I said I should give unto you that never should be BLOTTED out,

(f) except it be through TRANSGRESSION;

(f') therefore, take heed that ye do not TRANSGRESS,

(e') that the name be not BLOTTED OUT of your hearts.

(d') I say unto you, I would that ye should REMEMBER to retain the NAME

(c') written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the LEFT HAND of God,

(b') but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be CALLED,

(a') and also, the NAME by which he shall call you.

Notice the letters at the beginning of each line. Each line corresponds with the line which contains a matching letter. Notice also how it ascends and then descends in reverse order.

Did you know that Emma said that Joseph was unfamiliar with the Bible at the time of the translation of the BofM? For example, he was suprised to learn that Jerusalem had walls. So his unfamiliarity with the Bible would lead me to believe that he couldn't just picked up Chiasmus from there. There was also no indication from the scribes that there was any consulting from the Bible. 500 pages in 65 days. That works out to roughly 7 1/2 pages a day.

The papyrus which contains facsimile 1 was cut from a much larger scroll because it was in such fragile condition and then mounted behind glass. I suspect that the text of the BofA was on that scroll, however it is known that that scroll burned in the Chicago fire, so there is no way to know for sure.

Jeremy, you seem to know a lot about translating ancient texts from gold plates. Can you explain to me the process? From what I understand, it wasn't as easy a process as you seem to say. Did you know however that over time, Joseph got to the point where he no longer needed the urim and thummim to translate?

"The Prophet Joseph Smith reported that after his baptism in May 1829 and the subsequent enlightenment of his mind by the Holy Ghost, the scriptures were laid "open to [his] understanding, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed . . . in a manner which [he] never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of" (JS—H 1:74). This declaration is all the more significant when we realize that the Prophet had already translated a major portion of the Book of Mormon by the "gift and power of God" via the Urim and Thummim before receiving the new enlightenment by the Holy Ghost.

"The minutes for a meeting in Salt Lake City on January 14, 1871, record, "He [Elder Pratt] mentioned that as Joseph used the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the Book of Mormon, he wondered why he did not use it in the translation of the New Testament. Joseph explained to him that the experience he had acquired while translating the Book of Mormon by the use of the Urim and Thummim had rendered him so well acquainted with the Spirit of Revelation and Prophecy, that in the translating of the New Testament he did not need the aid that was necessary in the 1st instance."4 It thus appears that the Holy Spirit, operating in concert with the experience of a divinely appointed translator, may even supersede the role of a tangible divine instrument such as the Urim and Thummim.

Divine Enterprise, Human Effort

"The Lord could have given Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon without gold plates or Urim and Thummim. He could have manufactured a perfect, finished product in heaven and handed it to us. But that would have seriously impaired our responsibility to understand a principle of life by which the Lord works with humans. There seems to be an eternal law of growth that requires each person to do everything possible toward his or her own salvation. Of necessity there had to be gold plates and the Urim and Thummim, and the Prophet had to labor with diligence to translate. The scribes had to labor to record, and the typesetter had to labor to set type and to print. Similarly, readers must struggle to gain full understanding. Anything less would lack reality, and conviction would be shallow and experience and growth nonexistent. These factors are important enough that they could not be ignored even at the risk of human error entering into the text of the Book of Mormon."

Jeremy said, "But why would he use his magic rock in a hat over the items that accompanied the plates to translate."

I found a gem of an article which addresses this issue. This article talks about this subject and also gives references to it being found in many Ensign articles. So much for the acccusations of cover-up, at least with regard to the seer stones. No, I hadn't read them before, but then I don't read all the Ensign articles like I probably should. Elder Joseph, I hope you're reading this and I hope you will use this link to learn more:

http://www.mormonfortress.com/seer1.html

And so what if he used a hat. Where's the problem? Is it just because it's not in the pictures?

With regard to why the plates weren't present at times during translation, I will have to get back to you on that one.

Jeremy said...

You are right. I can't prove anything with the cement... nor can anyone else on either side.

I wasn't indicating the chiasmus was an accident. I was saying that he could have learned about it along the way, but again, speculation.

Also, I'm not so concerned about the drawings people have done depicting the translation. I am concerned about the lack of explanation on how this task really was accomplished. There aren't a lot of clear answers in the modern explanations.

I have to sincerely thank you for helping me Tata. All the apologetic rebuttals and rationalizations about the things here have really solidified my decision about leaving the church.

tatabug said...

I found this bit of information at FARMS with no source references:

"One horse specimen, discovered in Florida, was carbon-dated to about 100 B.C. Other horse remains have been found in precolumbian archaeological contexts in Mesoamerica (at Loltun and Mayapan), but these have not as yet been carbon dated."

I am still working on the gold plates thing because I have found no references to that assertion. But I have to ask, if Joseph really had gold plates, would it matter if they were with him when he translated? I think the argument you need to make is that he didn't really have the gold plates at all, since you believe the BofM was contrived from Joseph's mind. To ask the question you ask would lend credence to Joseph having possessed the plates. If you believe that he did have gold plates then it would be unlikely that the BofM was fabricated. So which argument would you like to make? Personally, I think if he really did have the gold plates, then he really did translate the BofM, I don't care where he had the plates when he did the translation.

Like I said, there hasn't been a lack of explanation. The article I mentioned gives lots of references to Ensign articles which discussed Joseph's use of a seer stone in addition to the Urim and Thummim. And anyway, what is so important to a testimony of the BofM that we also need to understand the entire process behind its translation? Who's to say we could even begin to understand unless we were able to experience it ourselves?

What do you consider proof of cement technology? Is a study by Johns Hopkins University not proof enough? I know it isn't proof of the divinity of the BofM, but neither is a lack of evidence proof of its fabrication. But if you want to complain that there isn't enough physical evidence to support the BofM, then I will point out the physical evidence that we do have available. Then at what point will you say there is enough evidence?

And I have to sincerely thank you and everyone else who has made me work hard to refute the claims against the church. I have learned a lot and feel even more confident in my beliefs.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

I still stand by my Cement assertion. It is obviously not generally accepted that Cement was used in ancient America as I can nothing about it. By contrast, I can find 1,000s of links that talk about Cement in Rome, Greece, etc. You have produced 1 paper written by a Mormon who just happened to be in the employ of Johns Hopkins. I'm sorry, but this is not enough.

Again, chiasmus means and proves nothing more than JS knew how to write it. I am well acquainted with chiasmus and its usage. If chiasmus is the best argument you have, you nothing.

I'll give you the river size argument because I have seen rivers in UT that are only creeks, but you totally ignored my valley comment. That was the crux of my statement. What the apologists describe is by no means a valley, not even close. I have seen an LDS documentary on this and have seen actual footage of this "valley". Not only is it not a valley, there is practically no land other than beach. This is a worse stretch than Cement.

Again, you ignored the facsimile reference. I suspect it is because you have no answer, which makes sense because it has been proven that the facsimile translations are wrong, and that they reference the book of breathings. The BofA is a fraud. This is proven fact.

Your circumstantial evidence for the BofM is too weak to even be considered circumstantial. Plus you got your math wrong on the time it took to write the BofM, but I can't blame you for this, because you are repeating the lie told by the LDS church. In reality it took 9 months. The church leaves out the months between the lost manuscript and the time JS officially restarted the "translation" process. The reality is he took 9 months. Also, the Koran was written in 3 months by an unlearned man a thousand years before JS, so the quick time argument doesn't hold up unless you are willing to accept the Koran as well.

All you can do is regurgitate the weak apologies of LDS men. You lean heavily on Jeff Lindsay. Jeff is a very intelligent and sincere man, but all of his arguments are easily refuted. I have done so many times myself on his blog.

You are obviously brainwashed and have a closed mind to the truth. I can only wonder why you waste your time and the time of those on this blog with your weak rebuttals and refusal to consider anything contrary to the MEN that run the LDS church.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

It is quite difficult for me to respond to at least 3 different people at one time with multiple arguments, so I'm sorry I missed it earlier, however, I disagree that the facsimiles have been refuted as everyone who has tried to refute them either can't agree on the interpretation, or certain interpretations come out remarkably similar to Joseph's.

Do you have any evidence that the person writing the article about cement from Johns Hopkins is a member of the church? Or is that an assumption on your part? Anyway, does that mean that there aren't scholars within the church who are capable of discovering evidence? Should we throw all of their research out simply because they have a bias? Who's to say that there aren't non-LDS scholars who are biased and don't want that information to come out? Just curious.

I agree that it was nine months from when translation of the BofM started until it was finished, but it is accurate to say that it only took 65 days since that is the how many days were used in the work of translation.

You mentioned the Koran but yet you conveniently gloss over the issue of it being completely re-edited 3 times. No such major overhaul occurred with the BofM.

I'm not sure what pictures you've seen, but the ones I've seen show a very large valley. Again, we have to take into consideration that size was not specified nor does a valley have to be a certain size to be considered a valley. I think it is just conventient that you are able to dismiss it as possible evidence in such a way. You want to argue evidence, but you won't accept evidence when it is put forth. The evidence you've put forth is either weak or lacking, since most of your so-called evidence merely points to a lack of proof. That is not valid scientific reasoning.

And yes, I've seen your comments on his blog. You have a very high opinion of your comments, which I don't share.

I think it is you who are brainwashed. It seems you have been fed a steady diet of anti-Mormon rhetoric. There are even those who disagree with Mormonism but can see clearly the weakness of the arguments made by anti-Mormons and can't understand why anti-Mormons keep rehashing the same tired arguments that have been thoroughly and effectively disputed. I can give you a reference to one such critique if you'd like. But I suspect you don't care.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

I decided to do a little cement Google myself, and guess what, I was able to find other references to it in a matter of about a minute. If you are interested, I can furnish some more references for you.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

I realize it is tough to answer 3 different people. It is tough enough to answer a single entry if it contains many references.

I can't comment on the 3 "major" overhauls of the Koran because I don't have enough info on that. Please send me links to bishopr77@yahoo.com.

Some would say that the BofM has had many "major" overhauls as well. Over 4,000 edits could be considered major, especially when entire meanings have been changed.

Please send me links to the cement references you were able to find as well. And please include your search words, because the ones I used turned up nothing. My reference about the JH article was not that it wasn't credible, but rather it was 1 article (possibly biased) vs 1000s (some but not all possibly biased). That is too much of a disparity.

How do we know that JS only worked on the BofM for 65 days during that 9 months? The only thing we know is that from the day he started and the day he finished was 9 months.

I didnt' see pictures of the possible valley of Lemuel, I saw video. If we throw out size and usable land space as determinants, then this place could be a possible candidate, but I'm not sure that is totally fair, and still would not explain traveling 250 miles on foot with provisions in 3 days. In fact is has never been explained how all the provisions were transported since no animals were used.

I don't think I'm brainwashed since I haven't had it ingrained in my mind that Joseph Smith is not a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is not true, since I was able to walk and talk, and no one is trying to take my time and money to not believe these things.

And regarding my comments on Mormanity (which I have not commented there since last year), of course I have a high opinion of them. Don't you have a high opinion of yours?

Bishop Rick said...

Tatabug,

Let me turn the table on you as well.
Perhaps the reason the same arguments keep coming up is because they haven't been thoroughly rebuked.

That said, I realize that a lot of anti stuff is rediculous. I never quote that stuff, and I use LDS-approved documents as references so the reader can make sure I'm not taking stuff out of context.

Just in case you are feeling picked on, I am not only against the LDS church. I have a problem with all "revealed" religions. None of them make sense to me, and none of them come close to explaining life on earth or beyond. (The only thing that comes remotely close is Deism, but it is severely limited as well)

It is just that I have put the bulk of my focus on mormonism since that is where the bulk of my membership and experience lies.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

Well, I disagree that the arguments haven't been sufficiently disproved, and I appreciate that you only use LDS sources, but I still don't feel you've made any very compelling arguments.

If you feel that no organized religion can begin to explain this life or the next life, what is it that you are expecting, and when will you know it's real? Do you have some basis for what would make sense, and if so, by what authority do you base those ideas?

I just noticed you had two posts. I will respond to the other one tomorrow when I have time and I will work on getting those links to you then as well.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

Koran

The information I gave you came from Hugh Nibley, and he gave no references to that information. However, I was interested in finding out more about it, so I looked it up without much luck, although I did find an Encyclopaedia Britannica article that I emailed you, which has some interesting information. It doesn't comment specifically on any reediting during Muhammed's lifetime, but it indicates that there were a lot of problems with it that were later corrected and perhaps even some major additions. It also indicates that much of the teachings were oral, and that it wasn't even compiled into a book until after his death, where all the teachings were collected from people who had them written down in order to preserve them and I guess produce it in book form so to speak.

Editing to the Book of Mormon

The editing done to the Book of Mormon was mostly grammatical. There were errors due to the copying the original manuscript to the printer's manuscript (3 avg. per page, due to apparent scribal errors) and also due to printing errors themselves. The current edition was corrected to more accurately reflect the original manuscript. I haven't seen any corrections that would constitute major overhauls or the entire changing of meanings, except for maybe when King Benjamin was corrected to mean King Mosiah in two places. Certain Hebraisms were changed in order to be more clearly understood, but again, no real change in meaning.

Time of Translation

I just found another reference by Hugh Nibley which puts the amount of time dedicated to translating at roughly 84 days. How do we know this? I guess the same way we know that it was 9 months from when the translation began. I don't know the exact source, but my guess is journal entries or the History of the Church, which I do have but have never tried to find out that information on my own.

River of Laman

Lehi's family traveled to the Red Sea, then they traveled to the River of Laman, which, if the candidate location is correct, would have been about 70 miles. A difficult but possible distance to travel in 3 days, especially if they had camels, which is possible.

Brainwashing

I know you aren't brainwashed. But neither am I. I was only playing tit for tat. Sorry. I just hate being called brainwashed because I know that simply isn't the case. And no, I haven't been taught these things since I was able to walk and talk. My family was largely inactive during my childhood. I didn't become active until I was about 14, and at that time, it was a change that I quickly welcomed. Regarding taking your money--if you buy anything anti-Mormon, you are in fact giving them your money to, in essence, "not believe these things." I'm not saying you have, but just in case.

Mormantity

You must have been on some of the older posts that I read. Some of my comments I do have a high opinion for, but since they are largely disagreed with here, they must not be that good, and that is my point.

Back to the topic of the Holy Ghost, I keep working over in my mind the idea that we sometimes want something so bad that we convince ourselves it is true and that it's the power of the mind at work. Well, I've thought about that. But then I realized that there are times when I've prayed for things that I wanted to know if they were right or wrong. In those instances, and one quite recently I might add, I really wanted to know that something was right. There were times I prayed multiple times to get an answer, but I didn't get an answer, and certainly not an answer in the affirmative. So how can you explain that?

I will email you the information on concrete that I found.

Zelph said...

Tatabug-

I disagree that the only changes to the later editions of the Book of Mormon were to change them back to the original manuscript. There are many important doctrinal differences to the original Book of Mormon, namely the fact that the original Book of Mormon said that Jesus was Heavenly Father.

As far as brainwashing goes, aren't we all a little brainwashed in certain aspects of our lives? Certainly as children, if we actually believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy guess what...ta dah...we were brainwashed as children.

I remember believing that Columbus came to America to prove the world was round. That is not true. Anyone besides peasants knew the world was round. The Queen of Spain was hoping to gain an economic advantage in finding a better trade route with Asia. So when I believed that Columbus set out to prove the world was round, I was brainwashed into believing it.

Did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree? Probably not, and if he did, I doubt he actually said the phrase "I can not tell a lie".

I believed that the principal origin of Native Americans were the Lamanites. Looks like I was brainwashed, because now the belief is that Lehi and family joined together with a larger group of people with Asiatic origins.

I believed that the big battles as described in the Book of Mormon took place in upstate, NY. Looks like I was brainwashed into believing it, because now it is refuted by most LDS apologists.

I believed that Joseph Smith translated gold plates by the way that is depicted in church publications-by studying them and understanding the meaning of the characters with help from the urim and thummim. However, I was brainwashed into thinking this because that is not how the Book of Mormon was translated at all. The manner in which it was translated was more like 19th century folk magic.

People believe in space aliens encounters and have just as much "evidence" to support these encounters as we have to authenticate the Book of Mormon.

As far as the translation process, I have a few words to say about it, and when you look at the whole thing, it is certainly suspect at best. I know it is Elder Joseph's favorite subject, so I will dedicate the next post to that as I have some strong opinions regarding the translation process.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

There were places where God was changed to mean Jesus and not Heavenly Father, but there are plenty more instances where Jesus and Heavenly Father were clearly differentiated. Even in the very chapter where Joseph Smith made the changes, the Original Manuscript and the present Book of Mormon speak of the Messiah as the Son of God, for verse 24 of 1 Nephi 11 reads: "And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him." This is consistent with the alterations made by Joseph. There is no change in meaning, only a helpful clarification for modern readers.

Brainwashing, according to Webster's is defined as, a FORCIBLE attempt by indoctrination to induce someone to give up his basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas. I wouldn't consider the examples you give as even mild examples of brainwashing. NEVER have I been forced to believe or accept any of the doctrines of the Church, and I highly doubt you were either. You may have been taught things that you now consider to be untrue, but brainwashing was not what was done to you.

BTW, I was never taught that the battle of Cumorah was fought in upstate NY. It has always been my understanding, maybe due to my own interpretation, that there were two Hill Cumorah's.

Aliens? I don't know about that one, but it might be possible.

Before you write your next post, make sure you read the article I sent you earlier.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

Indoctrination is more along the lines of what I suspect you underwent.

Bishop Rick said...

Indoctrination, brainwashing, its all semantics. Bottom line is we have all been subjected to believe something that is not true. Force was not needed as it was replaced with trust. This is worse than force.

I was never taught that there were 2 Hill Cumorahs. In fact, there are many LDS references that state specifically that the battles took place in NY. This 2 Cumorahs thing is a recent shift that conflicts with nearly 200 years of church teachings.

This is the problem I have with LDS revisionist history. When something fundamental breaks down, it is changed and taught as if that was always the teaching. And to make it worse, it isn't changed into something that is provable, but rather changed into something that can't be disproven...yet.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

I have to say that it is much more than semantics. But if that's how you want to play then, okay, you're brainwashed. I don't know how, but you are.

Children trust their parents, but parents tell their children things which are not true, as Zelph mentioned earlier. Is that so terrible?

Please refer me to the supposed earlier teachings of only one Cumorah, as I've NEVER heard of such. And please don't refer me to the Journal of Discourses. I need actual doctrinal sources, and I would prefer anything that is used to teach such a principle in a church setting, or even something found in the Ensign.

Zelph, Jeremy, and Bishop Rick,

I notice no one has offered an answer to my question about not receiving an affirmative answer to my prayers that I really wanted. It seems like there were all kinds of explanations for spiritual feelings when it was all about gaining a testimony of the Church. Does no one have an answer for it, because I would really like some feedback so I can continue to evaluate this issue in my own mind.

Jeremy,

It seems you've stopped talking to me. I hope it isn't because you are mad at me.

Jeremy said...

Tatabug,

Nah, it's more I've been busy with work and life over the extra long weekend that I haven't had time to "come out and play". But quickly in reference to Hill cumorah, I too have heard there were two hills but the problem is that the plates were deposited in one and then retrieved from another. Seems very fishy to me...

And the no feelings either way when you pray... I've been taught that it's because of one or more of the following: Lack of faith, lack of sufficient knowledge, it's not appropriate (ie, things that "you really don't need"), or God wants you to learn on your own. This is what I've been told by sunday school teachers, church leaders, seminary & institute teachers. So... i really haven't formed an opinion about it yet.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

But you and others have stated or implied that if we really want something, we can convince ourselves that we've felt something, like the Spirit or whatever you want to call it. I really wanted a "yes" answer to my prayer recently, but I didn't get that. In fact, I am being led to believe through certain cues that I am receiving, like no answer, or reading things that kind of give me an answer, that what I want is in fact wrong. I want to do what God wants me to do in the matter, but I also really want an affirmative answer too. I've always tried to ask God things with great sincerity and an open heart to whatever is His will, whether I have an opinion about it or not. This leads me to believe that when I've received a witness to my prayers to know if the Book of Mormon is true, or the Church, or Joseph Smith, or whatever and I've received a testimony that they are true, that it has been the Holy Ghost, because if it were just a matter of really wanting something to be right or true, I would be able to conjur up those feelings at any time I really want something. I might feel really good about that car I want, or I might feel really good about something I'm praying about, but those feelings are very different than the ones from the Spirit. Can you understand where I'm coming from on this one?

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

I too have heard about the 2 Cumorahs, but only recently. It is not what I was ever taught. Brigham Young taught that the Hill Cumorah in NY is the same Hill where the last big battle was fought and where the plates were deposited...unfortunately I only know of the JofD reference and you do not count that as doctrinal. Officially, only the canon of scripture is now to be counted as doctrine, and there is only reference of 1 Cumorah there, so this makes the 2 Cumorah theory not doctrinal.

My theory on the lack of answer to certain prayers has nothing to do with the HG. I think that even though you really want a Yes answer, you know in your heart that is not the right answer so this internal conflict is keeping you from creating the feelings you normally get.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

You said:

"I think that even though you really want a Yes answer, you know in your heart that is not the right answer so this internal conflict is keeping you from creating the feelings you normally get.

Even if you are correct about the internal conflict, how can the same not apply to someone who receives confirmation about the Book of Mormon? They could have the same internal conflict going on, and yet receive a spiritual confimation of it. However, I can say that I felt good and had every reason to believe that my desire was correct, but I couldn't be sure, which is of course, why I prayed, so that in my limited understanding, I could receive divine assurance, which I unfortunately haven't gotten. But any doubts I had were based partly on another person's opinion. They caused me to have doubts about my actions because they interpreted the situation differently than I did, and their interpretation gave me a reason to stop and think and make sure. By the same token, I had every reason to believe that the Book of Mormon was good and true, but I couldn't be sure of that on my own either, which is why I prayed, and fortunately, I received the answer I desired to know. Any doubts I may have had, were out of fear that it may have been a fraud, as people claim it is. Many people cannot believe the terrific claims made by Joseph about his experiences and the reality of the Book of Mormon, and that same sort of doubt has at times also rested with me. It is hard to believe, and there are many good reasons not to believe, but I am still able to maintain that belief and at times when I need it, I've been blessed to receive additional confirmations of it that I am indeed doing what is right.

Jeremy said...

I think I understand what you mean however I really don't have much of an explanation on why you wouldn't get a response. According to Joe if you get a stupor in thought about the question it's basically a no.

However, when I need to make a decision (not talking about prayer here) I try to decide based off of the first impression or feelings that I get. Often if I over think something it gets too complicated and I just end up not doing anything.

Anyway, I doubt I answered how you wanted but that's all I got.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

Thanks. I appreciate the help.