Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Do Not Hate The LDS Church

Even though I no longer believe that the church is true, or anything that it claims to be, I do not hate the church. My intention is not to bring it down, or even to try to convince people that they shouldn't believe in Mormonism. However, the faith of most members is not based on all the facts. What I want is for people to see both sides and then decide, that way people can make an informed decision.

I do not think I am smarter than true believing members of the church. I simply think that with the new information that is available via the internet I have come to a different conclusion regarding the validity of the claims made by the church.

Interestingly enough, through this ordeal, I have become much more tolerant and open minded regarding other religions and belief systems. Why must we limit ourselves to one way of thinking? This includes the Mormon church. Although I no longer believe in Mormonism, I believe that people have the right to believe in whatever they want to believe in, as long as they are not violating the basic human rights of others.

Disillusioned Mormon
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Monday, September 3, 2007

Gideon in the Book of Mormon

I would like to go back to the subject regarding the veracity of the Book of Mormon. I would like to bring up authorship of the Book of Mormon. One of the criticisms of the Book of Mormon is that many of the names and stories that are found in the Book of Mormon came from various sources that can be found in publications and stories that predate the Book of Mormon.

Vernal Holey's Book "Book of Mormon Authorship" points out many of these specific criticisms. I would encourage anyone interested to see what some of these criticisms entail.

Vernal points out that the story of Gideon in the Book of Mormon is very similar to a Indian chief also named Gideon.

According to the Book History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations, the last Delaware Indian chief, who was originally named Tadeuskund, converted to Christianity and was baptized and christened with the name Gideon in March 1750. According to the book published in 1876, Gideon was a counselor in his nation and was often referred to as the "King of the Delawares". His greatest weakness was his "fondness for strong drinks, the temptation of which he could not easily resist, and would sometimes drink to excess". His weakness in this department is what led to his death. His enemies brought him alcohol to make him extremely drunk, then burned his house down with him still in it.

Although this book was published after the Book of Mormon, it refers to a historical character from the mid 1700's from Delaware. For those familiar with the story of Gideon in the Book of Mormon, one can find similarities and parallels between the 2 stories. The parallels are so strong, that it is worth further study upon the subject.

What is interesting is that many of the things that happen to Gideon the Indian chief happen to the enemies of Gideon, like tempting them with strong drink and his enemy King Noah suffering death by fire. Mosiah 19, 22

The main question is if Joseph Smith had actually heard the story of Gideon before publication of the Book of Mormon. According to the book history, manners, many legends regarding Gideon were fabricated among the whites. It is very reasonable that a loose version of Gideon the last Delaware Indian chief was common among upstate, NY folklore by the early 1800's.

Even with that, I am not 100% convinced. The only thing missing is evidence to suggest a direct connection demonstrating that Joseph Smith had actually heard this story before publishing the Book of Mormon. However, I would say I am 90% convinced after reading both the Book of Mormon and History, Manners... the parallels are so striking that it would be quite a coincidence if 2 historical figures named Gideon of 2,000 years apart had similar events surrounding them.

What it comes down to for me is what is more reasonable. It seems more reasonable that Joseph Smith simply used a loosely based story as part of the source for the Book of Mormon.

Disillusioned Mormon
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