The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ The Book of Mormon discussion


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"What think ye?" (A Discussion of/on the Book of Mormon)

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Matthew Carlson I would like this discussion to be precisely that, an opportunity to discuss the Book of Mormon without limits. Do you have concerns, questions, issues? Have you read a portion recently on which you would like to comment? Have you some insight you would like to share? They sky is the limit.

-Matt.


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Excellent. I would like you to disprove this little rumor that I heard from some one at my school when I was in middle school. (I keep hearing it repeated in different forms over the years as I've lived in Idaho and Oregon.) This person had said that Joseph Smith had been a member of the Masons. He got kicked out. Then he made up the LDS church. I've heard that if you compare the Mason's rituals, they are similar to the Mormon church.

I appreciate your willingess to address this. I absolutely don't want to offend any one and will delete the post if people appear to be offended.


Matthew Carlson First Leslie, I would not be concerned about offense. It would take a great deal to offend me and being the instigator of this discussion I welcome any and all comments in relation to the Book of Mormon.

Now, I am not being evasive here but the matter you refer to does not seem to have any direct bearing upon the Book of Mormon unless of course the suggestion is (and this would be a first) that the source of the Book of Mormon was Freemasonry.

However, in a sincere desire to be of service let me just say that yes, Joseph Smith was a Mason (as of March 15, 1842) although he did not attend meetings regularly. I should point out that Masonic membership in no way commits one to a particular religious persuasion and that Freemasonry is a fraternal order and thus akin to lodge membership. Anyone could and can be a Mason. And no, Joseph was never “kicked-out.”

The last bit about his having “made up the LDS church” after allegedly being “kicked out” is utterly false; the Church was established April 6, 1830, almost 12 years before Joseph became a Mason. There is absolutely no connection between the establishment of the restored Church and Freemasonry.

As to the alleged similarity between Masonic rituals and “the Mormon church” I assume you are referring to the temple ordinances which Latter-day Saints are prohibited from discussing outside of the temple? Even given such an injunction section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which was penned January 19, 1841, mentions certain ordnances and ceremonies of the temple indicating that such ordinances and ceremonies were part and parcel of LDS belief long before Joseph’s initiation into Masonry thus disproving that thesis for the most part. As the Encyclopedia of Mormonism notes “Resemblances between the two rituals are limited to a small number of actions and words” and “Even where the two rituals share symbolism, the fabric of meanings is different.” LDS Christianity is certainly not an extension of Masonry. At best LDS temple ordinances share a few words and actions in common with ancient rituals that are shared by more than merely Masons and “Mormons” (which would be commensurate with the claim that they are a restoration of ancient practices). I would suggest both the article on “Freemasonry in Nauvoo” and “Freemasonry and the Temple” in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism for more information. Both can be read online:

http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/doc...

This link will connect you to the “f” category. Simply scroll down to the indicated entries.

I hope this information is useful.

Regards,
Matt.


message 4: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Many of my first spiritual inklings came from reading the Book of Mormon. I was 14 the first time I read it. I had never really had any experience with God, or spiritual matters. The first thing I noticed as I read, was that ideas from my reading sessions would kind of stick with me, my brain seemed to be tumbling them around. The other thing I noticed was that I was happier. It was just easier to be nice to people, to go through my day with these ideas and feelings hovering in the back of my head.

I think one thing that stands out about the Book of Mormon, to me at least is that it really was written for our day. As has been pointed out, the Nephites never had the record, most of it was compiled as they were being annihilated. It is interesting that the Book of Mormon, more than any other book of scripture confronts evil. Prophet after prophet denouncing pride and iniquity and urging people to repent, and turn to God. Ezra Taft Benson said that the Book of Mormon showed a pattern for the coming of Christ. In many ways we are following the pattern set by the Nephites and Lamanites, secret combinations abound, etc.


message 5: by Matthew (last edited Sep 15, 2008 09:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Thanks for your comment Joe. I too had a similar experience with the Book of Mormon. Mine unfortunately occurred a little later in life but it altered me nevertheless. I recall that I had been reading the Bible and was struck by Jesus challenge “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Interesting that it requires doing in order to “know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” Well, I thought, if there is anything to this then I will see some sort of change as I “do his will.” I started attending meetings and all that while I was reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I was also reading a bit on Church history.

On my second time through it came across Mosiah 5:2 and realized that although the change had been subtle and almost imperceptible it was had become discernable and was progressive. I felt as those who heard Benjamin that although I perhaps was not free from evil my disposition was no longer evil, I sought, I desired, that which was good. At that point in my life that was quite a change. I also noticed that I felt more fulfilled and contented than when I was seeking the opposite.

I think one of the beauties of the Book of Mormon is the eclectic assortment of individual experiences it contains. I have found myself feeling an odd kinship to Nephi and Amulek at times. It is encouraging to see these men, so committed to God and such instruments in God’s hands yet to have that understanding tempered by their own admissions (take for instance Nephi lament [2 Nephi 4:17-19] or Amulek admission [Alma 10:6]). I think it gives one hope as one struggles to “do his will.” Of course, it also contains some absolutely fabulous doctrinal discourses as well.

Regards,
Matt.


message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Matt,

Thanks for the info. I guess I should have clarified that I'd heard that much of the Mason's rituals were in the Book of Mormon.. I appreciate your information!


Matthew Carlson Leslie,

Well that one can most definitely be invalidated quite easily. One read through the book and one becomes quite aware that there is nothing of “the Mason’s rituals” within its pages. Further, it would be difficult to demonstrate chronologically that the Book of Mormon was dependent upon Masonic rituals for its content since it preceded Joseph’s exposure to Masonry by 12 years. Thank you for your interest.

Regards,
Matt.


Matthew Carlson Well hello Ilze, I appreciate your interest in our interactions. It appears you have expanded to include this discussion as well.

As to your invitation, thank you, I appreciate you sincere interest in my spirtual well-being. Although I do not recall using the word "struggle" either here or in the discussion on "Are Mormons Christians," I am touched by your efforts. Let me assure you that I am confident in the knowledge that "we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are." Indeed "in that he himself hath suffered being atempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." I am confident in Jesus' ability the "succour then that are tempted."

Regards,
Matt.



message 9: by Blaine (new)

Blaine I love the Book of Mormon. I've only read it all the way through once, but I'm kind of young and I didn't used to read it diligently.

I read the discussion on the BOM called "My Bedside Table Standard Freind" with Matt and Brenda and Elisabeth, as well as others. It really enlightened me.

One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 25:26 where it says:
"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ..."




message 10: by Ilze (new)

Ilze Food for thought:
FLORIDA COURT SETS ATHEIST HOLY DAY In Florida, an atheist created a case against the coming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring,"Case dismissed!" The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays." The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant." The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists." The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.



message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert Chambers I would like to tell everyone about 1Thessalonians 5:1-9. If you are a Dead soul, Then you are just a man and can't know GOD's plan. And GOD will come on you as a Thief in the night. 'For not the Angles of heaven Know' for Lucifer was a fallon Angle and he can't know either! Only GODS elect can know GODS plan. Mark 14:4 - 11, state: It is given to you the Mystery of the parables. If you don't understand - You better be praying for GODS mercy.


Gypsy Leslie wrote: "Excellent. I would like you to disprove this little rumor that I heard from some one at my school when I was in middle school. (I keep hearing it repeated in different forms over the years as I've..."

Matt wrote: "I would like this discussion to be precisely that, an opportunity to discuss the Book of Mormon without limits. Do you have concerns, questions, issues? Have you read a portion recently on which yo..."




Gypsy No Joseph Smith did not get kicked out of the Masons to form the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith was fourteen when he decided he should choose a religion. His family was becoming very split in which sect to join. So after reading in the Bible that if any man should lack wisdom let him ask of God he went into the forest and began to pray. Almost instantly he was overcome with a power of such evil that it bound his tongue and he could not speak. Then suddenly the evilness left him and a pillar of light came down upon him and he saw two personages that exeeded the glory of the sun and they called him by name and they were Jesus and God. They told him that none of the churches were true and that he was to restore the true church of God.
If you would like to learn more about this you can go to www.lds.org or call a local church : )


message 14: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (Official Edition) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars
IF you have truly opened your heart wondered about life. then this book will speak to you, you dont read, you listen in amazement how anyone could think that someone would detail our existance in such powerful records is truly lost and sad. no 14 year old boy wrote better than shakesphere and grew up willing to die and have others killed for scifi it doesnt even comparable to any book out there but

maybe because i have the holy ghost its speaks to me plain as if the speaker was in the room. anything that has taken great demand must be true you went from j smith to all over the world because the ones that know wont let go for anything its the ultimate life instruction manual. and if yall dont feel these are the next final years days wat ever ur in for a big shock. this is the last chapter i do believe america is in uproar. but no worries call some LDS MISSIONARIES AND GET BAPTIZED FAST IVE BEEN A MEMBER ALL MY LIFE BUT I JUST OPENED MY HEART TONIGHT AND THAT BOOK SPOKE AT ME ITS HARDER TO READ WHEN YOUR TOLD ITS TRU YOUR WHOLE CHILD HOOD YOU JUST SAY OK. WELL IM 29 NOW 2 KIDS OF MY OWN AND LIFES HARD NOW UNTIL I OPENED THAT BOOK IM ALL GOOD NOW THAT BOOK LET ME KNOW WAT TO DO. AND IM HAPPY TIMES 10 NOW


View all my reviews.



Matthew Carlson Interesting. Only six posts in my long absence from goodreads. I suppose a few brief responses are in order:

Sarana's Brother,

Youth and inexperience need not preclude you from powerful insights into the text. Jesus responded to the cries of children "Hosanna to the Son of David" by referencing Psalm 8:2 (although it reads a bit differenly there) to the effect that "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise." I think that the young often times see clearer than we old codgers being unfettered with predispositions and predilections. So, please feel free to share you insights.

Ilze,

Not certain of the relevance of your comment but thank you all the same for sharing.

Robert,

Not certain what point you are trying to make but perhaps if you were explicit about it we can discuss it.

Gypsy,

You are correct of course. I mentioned this in my response to Leslie, to wit "Further, it would be difficult to demonstrate chronologically that the Book of Mormon was dependent upon Masonic rituals for its content since it preceded Joseph’s exposure to Masonry by 12 years."

Obviously the Book of Mormon and the Church itself cannot be imputed to Masonic influences if those incluences did not pre-date either.

Matt,

Obviously another "Matt" as I certainly did not author this post. Perhaps I will differentiate myself in some way to avoid confusion.

Regardless, I am overjoyed that you have found meaning and value within the pages of the Book of Mormon. I like you came into the Church after reaching adulthood although I was not yet a parent at the time. My best to you as you continue to strive to follow Christ.

Regards,
Matt.


Matthew Carlson Well, Robert certainly makes himself out to be an expert on the matter. However, I am not even the least bit tempted to accept his logically fallacious appeal to authority. Knowledge of and familiarity with the text do not qualify one comment on the historical, anthropological, archeological, or even spiritual aspects of the text. Based upon his alleged position as “supervising scientific linguist in the Church’s Translation Department and a member of a team of linguists who studied this book on the finest level of detail to develop a guide for translators” his area of expertise appears to be linguistics, not history, anthropology, archeology, or spirituality. His expert opinion would not necessarily entitle him to render opinions related to such matters.

But of course, there are faithful Latter-day Saints who do indeed specialize in the areas of history, anthropology and archeology who find the book to be quite “authentic.” The rather subjective opinion of its “spiritual” value is highly suspect. Millions have found a great deal of “spiritual” value within the volume. Opinions will vary it appears. I find his specific claim that “The teachings it embodies can best be characterized as 1800s New England folk belief” to be a sweeping generalization which could be employed (although unsuccessfully in my opinion) to account for potions of the book but hardly addresses the entire volume. His position on the volume is almost as old as the volume itself sounding strangely reminiscent of that of Alexander Campbell who offered a similar assessment in 1831. Most objections to the Book of Mormon are similarly just recycled reproductions.

I still find it utterly fascinating that those who can’t abide the Book of Mormon on the grounds of it having failed their critical examination in relation to history, anthropology, archeology or any a number of other factors can still opine about the “authentic teachings of Jesus.” Any continued association with Christianity in general betrays an egregious amount of special pleading on the part of the adherent. They will array history, anthropology and archeology against the Book of Mormon but dismiss the same from muster concerning the Bible. Precisely the same arguments applied to impugn the authenticity of the Book of Mormon tend to militate against the authenticity of the Bible as well but when any attempt is made to equitably apply the standard the hackles of the critic rise and then attempt to poison the well of discourse by leveling accusations of “Bible bashing.” Be critical if you must, but be consistent in your application as well. I have found equity to be the Achilles heel of the critics.

Not that Mr. Bushman is or would be guilty of such things but they should be considered as one reads his opinion. As always I would suggest a balanced consideration of the evidence and should one choose to follow Mr. Bushman’s links balance his opinion with faithful opinions of the text (http://www.fairlds.org/ and http://mi.byu.edu/).

Regards,
Matt.




message 17: by Matthew (last edited Dec 31, 2009 09:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Hello Brittany,

I did at one point serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but that was some time ago (although I must admit to it having left an indelible mark upon me).

As to your challenge with consistent study I would say you are by no means unique. I myself suffer under the same difficulty. I was once asked for instance how I can comprehend and more importantly how I can endure to complete certain books and/or articles on complex topics. It brought to mind at statement from one critic (Mark Twain as a matter of fact) of the Book of Mormon who called it "cloroform in print." I think the same might be applied to many a religious or religiously oriented texts including the devotional, the theological and certainly the philosophical. However it's not a matter of "force" but of habit. At first you will I think have to simply make time for and "force" yourself to read/study. However, as you set aside this time in your day (and it need not be much, consider that one can complete the Book of Mormon in approximately 60 days by reading a mere 5 pages per day which takes only perhaps 15-20 minutes per day) you will I think begin to look forward to this time. It will become a habit.

The trick is finding the right time. Don't think that you can't either, there are plenty of activities in which you may participate where you are not necessarily focused and where you may be able to sneak in 15-20 minutes of reading. Consider breakfast or lunch where you are merely sitting there eating. Reading can be incorporated without much difficulty.

It is more challenging if you have children, where there constant demands for your attention may prevent you from truly focusing on your reading. Consider reading to them. They too will get into the habit (it takes patience and roughly 2 weeks to form a good habit) and even remind you should you forget. It does not matter if they are playing while you read, just so long as the TV is off and the radio silent so that their ears can hear and their minds and spirits absord whatever they can.

Or, consider taking some time to yourself. When your spouse gets home from work, whether you both work or whether you are lucky enough to be able to stay at homes with your children, ask him to give you 30 minutes to an hour for a walk. Take an MP3 player with or even walk to a local park and spend 15-20 minutes of your hour reading.

I suppose what I am saying is that you have to make time and you have to make that time habitual so that you will establish a pattern. We are by nature creatures of habit and they can be both good and bad. So, form a good one.

Regards,
Matt.


Jorgina Matthew wrote: "First Leslie, I would not be concerned about offense. It would take a great deal to offend me and being the instigator of this discussion I welcome any and all comments in relation to the Book of M..."

That was the best explanation of this tender topic I have ever read. Thank you for being so clear and concise. You have really done your research. I now feel I can trust this discussion group.
Again, thank you.


Matthew Carlson Well, Jorgina, I appreciate the compliment. You are quite welcome and feel free to participate further should you feel so inclined.

Regards,
Matt




Monkey Man The thing about Mormonism that disturbs me is the implied racism. The bit about black skin being the mark of Cain:

"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became THE FATHER OF AN INFERIOR RACE. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so WHILE TIME ENDURES. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a BLACK SKIN and have been DENIED THE PRIVILEGE OF PRIESTHOOD and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to FEEL THEIR INFERIORITY and have been SEPARATED from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, 'and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were DESPISED AMONG ALL PEOPLE.'" Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, pp. 101-102, 1931, emphasis added.

"...[F:]rom Ham sprang the race which preserved the curse in the land." LDS Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 1:24.

"For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a BLACKNESS came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were DESPISED AMONG ALL PEOPLE." LDS Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:8, emphasis added.

And just the denigration of non-white races in general:

"And the skins of the Lamanites [native Americans:] were DARK, ...which was A CURSE UPON THEM.... 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." Book of Mormon, Alma 3:6-8

"Thus the WORD OF GOD is fulfilled...: Behold, the Lamanites [native Americans:] have I CURSED, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be SEPARATED FROM THEE AND THY SEED, FROM THIS TIME HENCEFORTH and FOREVER, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them." Book of Mormon, Alma 3:14

Compared to how "white" people are described:

"And the Gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, ...their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save THEY SHALL BE A WHITE AND A DELIGHTSOME PEOPLE. " Book of Mormon (1830 edition), 2 Nephi, Chapter XII, p. 117, emphasis added.

This passage from the original Book of Mormon has subsequently been altered by Mormonism's leaders. The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 30:6, now reads: "they shall be a PURE and a delightsome people." Does this mean that Joseph Smith misinterpreted the golden tablets?

Why were black people denied the priesthood until 1978? Can anyone answer that one question?


message 21: by Matthew (last edited Dec 31, 2009 09:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

Good question. Just for clarity's sake you asked:

"Why were black people denied the priesthood until 1978? Can anyone answer that one question?"

I have no reservations whatsoever admitting that, judged upon modern ethical standards, many LDS leaders in their attempts to justify the pre-1978 priesthood ban expressed some rather racist opinions. However, one should understand at least two things:

1. One should keep in mind a fallacy referred to as presentism which is essentially "an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences." We mustn't allow "present-day attitudes and experiences" to overly color (no pun intended) our views of the past.

Consider the fact that LDS views, as expressed in the quotations provided, were not necessarily unique but were mainstream views in almost all Christian denominations in relation to ethnic considerations. This is not an attempt to dismiss the matter but merely to place it in its proper context. If indeed LDS leaders expressed racist views (expressing the matter using "present-day attitudes and experiences") then indeed they were merely amongst the majority who held such erroneous positions.

2. Although many individuals including adherents, defectors, detractors and even the disinterested observers are under the mistaken impression that all which a prophet or leader of the LDS Church utters is immediately to be accepted as an official statement of belief such is simply not the case. These are men, who in the words of James are "subject to like passions as we are." (KJV, James 5:17)

These men express opinions just like the rest of us do. This is not to say that all they profess is merely opinion but rather that they are not infallible. LDS Christians are not Catholics and we do not believe that the prophet or his counselors or indeed any Church leader is infallible.

I have always liked the way Elder Bruce R. McConkie (at the time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) expressed the matter:

"There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, 'You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?' And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."

There is a significant difference between what is revealed to a prophet by God and what a prophet or any other Church leader concludes based upon their own admittedly fallible reasoning.

Again, note Elder McConkie's clear and unequivocal admission "We [I... President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation:] spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world." In other words, they were wrong. They spoke, albeit with the best of intentions (i.e. a sincere desire to provide as rational an explanation as they could for a rather difficult matter) but they spoke with "limited understanding" and were simply mistaken in their conclusions. Therefore, in the end all of their ruminations are irrelevant.

It is quite possible that it was the racial tendencies of some early leaders of the Church (namely Brigham Young) that led to the priesthood ban in the first place. Either way, what is clear is that is simply wasn't the right time as a more open view of the equality of man amongst LDS circles would certainly have led to even more negative views of the Church (which was at the time already seen as being abolitionist based upon Joseph's views), more persecution and more problems. In the beginning the Church was actually quite progressive for Joseph Smith ordained more than one African American to the priesthood. And even when segregation was the standard no LDS congregation was ever segregated.

One can attempt to play the racial card and profess LDS Christianity as false based upon such considerations but I believe such an objection whistles past the graveyard of a society which was plagued with racist tendencies by our modern standards. It ignores the fact that this was endemic of even those denominations which African Americans gravitated towards. It is clearly presentist and obviously special pleading to declare one acceptable and another unacceptable without acknowledging that equity requires we see both the forest and the trees.

Again, none of this is meant to excuse LDS leaders from responsibility for their racist leanings (even overt leanings). And none of it clearly responds to your question for in the end we have no idea why the priesthood was refused to those of African descent previous to 1978. It is simply a matter which has never been revealed. However, God has stated unequivocally that "he [God:] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:33)

I have offered several possibilities; that based upon the political and cultural climate of the time it simply wasn't a prudent time being the primary one. I have also offered the possible explanation that the Lord allowed certain leaders to persist in their erroneous views on account of it being the wrong time for such a development and therefore left them to reason as best as they could on the matter until the climate changed.

However, these are opinions expressed in hindsight and in faith. They do little the heal injured sensibilities which are rightly raw after the many injustices that those of African descent have suffered at the hands of those who believed wholeheartedly in the words spoken to Peter who felt "it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation," that "God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." (Acts 10:28) And indeed as he later expressed the "[God:] put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9) Indeed, "there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:11)

However, I also believe that is does little good to determine truth on the basis of the failings of men, or their character flaws and foibles which create conditions and foster actions inconsistent with their beliefs. Such a standard is not only unrealistic but logically fallacious (consider the fallacy of tu quoque or even the fallacy of irrelevant purpose).

So, there is your response which really doesn't provide much of a response as the question really doesn’t have an answer. One may as well ask why white Anglo-Saxons felt justified in treating their fellow human beings in such a deplorable manner? How could they stoop to such level of depravity that they would murder without remorse, torture without regret and persecute without consideration while at the same time professing themselves to be Christian? Did they feel themselves justified? Certainly. Do we see their justifications through modern eyes as being sufficient? Hardly.

I am of course happy to discuss the matter further.

Regards,
Matt


message 22: by Matthew (last edited Dec 29, 2009 09:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Now, of course, I noticed after posting my previous comments that you were not only quoting Brigham Young or Joseph Fielding Smith but also the Book of Mormon itself with the allegation that its statements are also racist in nature. I do not believe they are. I would suggest that you read the following:

http://www.blacklds.org/tvedtnes

I would like to add that the oft quoted "white and delightsome" was altered to "pure and delightsome" by Joseph Smith himself in 1840. It is not a modern alteration intended to remove a racist slur. Rather it is an alteration made by Joseph to better reflect the meaning of the text Joseph translated.

Regards,
Matt


message 23: by Monkey (last edited Dec 30, 2009 12:56PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Monkey Man As my mom used to say, "If everyone else jumped off the bridge..."

I agree with you: Religion is used to justify horrible actions. The fact that Christians did it does not make the fact that Mormons did it any better. The thing to do, though, is to acknowledge, make reparations and change.

One out of three ain't too good.

The changing of Mormon rules, from denying blacks the priesthood to polygamy to the changing story of the first revelation of Smith, is, to me, proof that it is nothing universal and permanent about this particular religion, as one would expect something that was revealed by an omnipotent and omnipresent being would be. Why would ANYTHING need to be changed?

And just to correct you, "white" wasn't changed to "pure" until 1981. Go get an old copy of the book.

Want some more quotes from your book? Plenty to choose from:

1 Nephi 12:23
23 And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

1 Nephi 13:15
15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

2 Nephi 5:21
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.

Jacob 3:8
8 O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.

Alma 3:6
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, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.

3 Nephi 2:15
15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

Mormon 5:15
15 And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.


Dark, filthy and loathsome. When is Joseph Smith going to change THOSE words?

And what about the fact that there is NO evidence of ANY Hebrew (or any other middle-eastern race's) DNA in Native Americans? All the samples taken, nothing but Asiatic DNA. Doesn't that blow the whole basis of Mormon belief out of the water?

Looking forward to more explanations,
Monkey


message 24: by Matthew (last edited Dec 31, 2009 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

You seem far more intent on accusation, confrontation and disagreement than you do upon reparation and reconciliation. I never argued that one should follow the lemmings off the nearest precipice but rather that one should not, and indeed equitably cannot, impugn the “Mormons” individually for issues endemic of a society as a whole (whether religious or otherwise).

Racism, or at least its lesser cousin bigotry, was widespread in American society at the time. In stating such I never indicated (in fact I specifically professed precisely the opposite) that Mormons should be excused from responsibility for what in retrospect can be branded racist rhetoric (and here I am referring to that which is overtly so, not that which you interpret to be such).

Further, I never said “Religion is used to justify horrible actions” so you are not agreeing with me in admitting to such a belief. Rather, I would more carefully word such a statement to indicate only that religion has been used to justify “horrible actions.” The latter provides for the possibility that religion can be, and indeed has been, used to justify that which is considered morally reprehensible while the former implies that all “horrible actions” are justified by religion. Many “horrible actions” are perpetrated independent of religion. Further, I do not believe that all “horrible actions” even when perpetrated by one professing to be religious are religiously motivated nor can the actions of an individual logically be transferred to the group to which they profess to be a member.

I am curious however; precisely what would you consider acceptable acknowledgement, “reparation and change?” It isn’t enough to admit that Brigham Young did indeed profess sentiments which were bigoted if not racist based upon modern standards and that he was wrong to do so? That he spoke with “limited understanding” and that the opinion he expressed was his own and not God’s? It isn’t enough to acknowledge that “all are alike unto God” and to extend the same privileges previously available only to some to all? Precisely what would be good enough? I assume you want a formal acknowledgement from President Monson with an attendant apology? Why? Should I be required to apologize because my father is a sexist pig? Should I be required to apologize because my brother is racist? I think it quite sufficient to admit that what was said was wrong and that God’s view is that “all are alike unto God.”

I have become thoroughly convinced that there are some who want to continue to foster the enmity and bitterness of the past. They do not want acknowledgement and no level of reparation would be sufficient. “Change” is irrelevant for what they desire is revenge. They want to place their boot upon the throat of their oppressors and revisit upon them all the injustices visited upon their forebears. There is one significant problem with such a course, their oppressors no longer exist. Economic and social circumstances still tend to relegate many in the minorities (including those of African descent) to poverty but such is just as true for those of a lighter pigmentation even if the statistical divide still tends to favor minorities. Granted racism still exists but it is just as rampant amongst those who claim to be the victims as those whom they claim are their present oppressors.

You feel that “The changing of Mormon rules, from denying blacks the priesthood to polygamy to the changing story of the first revelation of Smith, is, to me, proof that it is nothing universal and permanent about this particular religion, as one would expect something that was revealed by an omnipotent and omnipresent being would be.”

Syllogistically your argument is:

Premise 1: “religion… revealed by an omnipotent and omnipresent being” is “universal and permanent” and is not “changed.”
Premise 2: “this particular religion” demonstrates “The changing of Mormon rules, from denying blacks the priesthood to polygamy to the changing story of the first revelation of Smith”
Conclusion: Therefore “this particular religion” is not “revealed by an omnipotent and omnipresent being.”

Premise 1 (P1) is far from being an established fact. Every “religion” claiming to have been “revealed” can be demonstrated to have experienced “change” and upon the standard of P1 all would be relegated to the dustbin. It also assumes a static meaning to the terms “omnipotent and omnipresent” which certainly may not mean to same thing to all involved.

P2 attempts to provide examples of changes to “this particular religion.” You site:

A. “blacks and the priesthood”
B. “polygamy”
C. “the changing story of the first revelation of Smith”

The first is not a “revealed” tenant and therefore has no bearing whatsoever on the matter. It provides evidence only that God did not and has not revealed the reason why previous to 1978 those of African descent could not hold the priesthood and that those who speculated upon the matter were wrong. I have admitted both of these facts. However, owing to the fact that P1 has yet to be proven none of the examples in P2 can be employed in reaching the conclusion.

Although I could address in detail B and C they appear to me to fulfill two purposes, to quickly expand the scope of the discussion to issues which will require additional time and explanation to explore (the fallacy of many questions) which exceed the scope of the present topic and therefore detract attention away from the central issue (the red herring fallacy) under discussion: racism. Let us deal first with your allegations of racism and then address these other matters.

Arguments are assessed on three basic standards, true, validity, and soundness. A premise can be true or false. If the conclusion follows from the premises the argument is valid. If the premises are true and the conclusion follows an argument overall is considered sound. These are of course all philosophical terms. If indeed your premises were true then the conclusion would indeed seem to follow and therefore your argument would then be valid. However, since your premises are not necessarily true your argument is unsound.

You would need to demonstrate that P1 is indeed true, that all "revealed" religions are "universal and permanent" and do not change. Even if you can provide only one example that would be sufficient to argue for the superiority of that one over the others on the basis of P1.

You would then need to demonstrate that the three examples you have provided are indeed "revealed" and then subsequently "changed" without divine approbation. For you see, if you cannot demonstrate the truth of P1 then a change per se would not justify rejecting a religion on the basis of P1. If a "revealed" religion can and does change then P2 becomes irrelevant for even if a change can be demonstrated the change can be mitigated if attributed to divine direction.

Of course, your entire argument rests upon the fallacy of begging the question which is an informal fallacy of logic unrelated to form. It is a fallacy of reason or thinking. Basically, you are "arriving at a conclusion from statements that themselves are questionable and have to be proved but that are assumed true."

You move on in an attempt to “correct” me stating that “‘white’ wasn't changed to ‘pure’ until 1981. Go get an old copy of the book.” I am afraid that it is you who need to become more conversant with the textual history of the Book of Mormon. I have several copies of various editions including several copies of the present 1981 edition, the 1830 edition, the Printers Manuscript and the extant portion of the Original Manuscript. I also have Royal Skousen’s superb _The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text_.

Although the 1981 edition “contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Book of Mormon, “A Brief Explanation About The Book of Mormon,” p. x) the specific correction stems from the 1840 edition “edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith.” That it did not find its way back into the text until 1981 does not alter the fact that the revision took place in 1840.

You are of course free to consult Skousen’s _Earliest Text_ which contains an appendix that includes “719 important changes in the history of the Book of Mormon” (including the one under discussion) or Skousen’s phenomenal _Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon_ (four volumes which address every textual variant) to verify the matter.

As for the additional “quotes from your book” I provided an entire article to you via a link which addresses your allegations related to the text of the Book of Mormon. The repetition of an accusation does little to establish its acceptance. A more advisable approach would be to demonstrate that Tvedtnes' conclusions are unsound in relation to the text and then to provide a sound alternative. None of the terms you site (“Dark, filthy and loathsome”) are racial slurs and none require “change.”

You close with another red herring. Obviously you are as ignorant of the science involved in population genetics as you are of the textual history of the Book of Mormon. Feel free to brush upon on the plethora of LDS articles from reputable experts on the matter:

http://mi.byu.edu/display/topical.php...

There is a fabulous collection of several of these articles available for purchase under the title _The Book of Mormon and DNA Research_. In essence, no, the lack of Semitic markers amongst Amerindian populations neither proves nor disproves the Book of Mormon.

In closing let me ask you a question. You obviously feel that LDS Christianity is valueless having become convinced by the “proof” (I would prefer the term “evidence” as I do not think anything your cited constitutes “proof”) that it cannot have been “revealed” by “by an omnipotent and omnipresent being.” So what alternative are you arguing I should accept? Some other form of Christianity? Judaism? Islam? Buddhism? Atheism? Precisely what would you espouse as the viable alternative?

Regards,
Matt


Monkey Man 1. The church has changed on several major issues, i.e., the "translation" of the book, polygamy, their stance that Native Americans are the lost tribe of Israel, Blood Atonement, and people with dark skin. Mormonism either is or isn't true, and all your wiggling and prevarication doesn't change the fact that this book was written (not translated) by a convicted con-artist.

Here are the versions of 2 Nephi:

"... many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a WHITE and a delightsome people." (1830 Edition, p. 117)

"... PURE and delightsome people." (1840 Edition)

"...WHITE and delightsome people." (All later editions until 1981)

"... PURE and delightsome people." (1981 Edition, II Nephi 30:6)

Go back and check again. (Plenty more changes have been made: http://www.challengemin.org/8400.html )

2. The Mormons have stated for over 175 years that the Lamanites are the Jews that came to the Americas around 600 BCE:

D&C 28:8
And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

D&C 28:9
And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

D&C 28:14
And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

D&C 30:6
And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance; for I have given unto him power to build up my church among the Lamanites;

D&C 32:2
And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.

D&C 49:24
But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

D&C 54:8
And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

"Not until the revelations of Joseph Smith, bringing forth the Book of Mormon, did any one know of these migrants. It was not known before, but now the question is fully answered. Now the Lamanites number about sixty million; they are in all of the states of America from Tierra del Fuego all the way up to Point Barrows, and they are in nearly all the islands of the sea from Hawaii south to southern New Zealand. The Church is deeply interested in all Lamanites because of these revelations and because of this great Book of Mormon, their history that was written on plates of gold and deposited in the hill. The translation by the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed a running history for one thousand years-six hundred years before Christ until four hundred after Christ-a history of these great people who occupied this land for that thousand years. Then for the next fourteen hundred years, they lost much of their high culture. The descendants of this mighty people were called Indians by Columbus in 1492 when he found them here."
--Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Ensign, July 1971, 7 (In the "Special Lamanite Section")

(We believe).... "That the existing Indian tribes are all direct descendants of Lehi and his company, and that therefore they have sprung from men all of whom were of the house of Israel." -- James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, p.293

"When Columbus discovered America, the native inhabitants, the American Indians as they were soon to be designated, were a people of mixed blood and origin. Chiefly, they were Lamanites, but such remnants of the Nephite nation as had not been destroyed had, of course, mingled with the Lamanites. Thus the Indians were Jews by nationality.... [since then:] there has been ... dilution of the pure Lamanitish blood. ... But with it all, the great majority are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, the dominant blood lineage is that of Israel. The Indians are repeatedly called Lamanites in the revelations to.... become again a white and delightsome people as were their ancestors a great many generations ago." -- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Ed., 1966, pp. 32-33.


DNA evidence CAN be and HAS been used to trace Semitic ancestry, and "lost tribes" HAVE been found .. IN AFRICA:


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcri...
http://www.bxscience.edu/publications...

So, DNA, can prove movements of populations, and NO evidence has been found in Native Americans. QED.


2. Let's move on on polygamy. From the LDS website: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/5... DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
" 61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified."

Ten virgins. Wow.

The Church owns and runs the www.familysearch.org website. On this website, you can search records and find various bits of genealogical information.

Here's Joseph Smith's record, with an impressive list of wives:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Searc...

From there, we click on someone like Helen Mar KIMBALL:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Searc...

And we see that lil' Helen was born on 20 Aug 1828 and married Joseph Smith in May 1843, making her 14 years old when she married him.

Personally, though, my favorite is this one:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Searc...

Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young. Married to Henry Jacobs in March 1841, then married to Joseph Smith a few months later in October 1841. She continues living with Jacobs, and after Smith is killed, she is also married to Brigham Young in Feb. 1846. She still continues to live with Jacobs for awhile, but eventually ends up being one of Young's many plural wives in all senses of the term. She has two sons by Jacob and a daughter by Young. This is one of the more illustrative examples of the practice of polyandry (women married to more than one man), which isn't well known among the Mormons, but is documented right there on the LDS genealogy website.

(from www.exmormon.org )


3. Blood Atonement... Or, no, let's do the Mountain Meadows Massacre..., no, too many to choose from. I'll tell you what, lets round it off with this:

Your last question was the only one that really had merit. Not the question itself, but the fact that you are questioning, and not accepting blindly. Examine, think and you will see the truth. Why would you want ME to tell you what to accept? There are SO many belief systems out there, hundreds if not thousands. Why is YOURS correct, and not the Hindus', or the Harri Krishnas', or David Koreshs'?

Which belief system has the real, empirical evidence to back it up?

Keep thinking,
Monkey



Matthew Carlson Monkey,

Let’s keep this simple as you seem to have difficulty grasping the matter. The fallacy of the red herring, an informal fallacy of logic which clearly demonstrates a deliberate attempt to be evasive, is defined as “ignoring a criticism or an argument by shifting attention to another subject.”

As I stated, your argument assumes what has yet to be proven, that change is somehow an indication that a religion is not “revealed” or that the religion in question is spurious. Instead of responding to my request that you establish a basis for the acceptance of the primary premise you note again:

“1. The church has changed on several major issues
“2. The Mormons have stated for over 175 years that the Lamanites are the Jews that came to the Americas around 600 BCE… So, DNA, can prove movements of populations, and NO evidence has been found in Native Americans. QED.
“2. Let's move on on polygamy…
“3. Blood Atonement... Or, no, let's do the Mountain Meadows Massacre..., no, too many to choose from.”

Change is irrelevant. You have yet to demonstrate that the presence of change has any bearing on the matter.

Further, the “Introduction” of the Book of Mormon does indeed note that (p. v) “they [Lamanites:] are the principle ancestors of the American Indians” however this does nothing to support the DNA argument. The Lamanites, by the end of the Book of Mormon, are a homogenous group whose DNA would reflect the markers of the indigenous inhabitants rather than that of Lehi or any of his children.

There are simply complexities here you are refusing to even acknowledge or interact with which clearly indicate to me that you are uninterested in discussing the matter. Again, I refer you to the articles on the matter which I have already linked to which discuss many of the complexities involved. If you wish to have an intelligent discussion on the matter than read the material and demonstrate to me where the arguments are flawed.

Then there is polygamy and your take on the (pause for emphasis and please, read this as if it were pronounced in a sinister, booming voice)… BLOOD ATONEMENT! You then refer in passing the Mountain Meadows Massacrem apparently as an instance of such. Yet the evidence is scant at best to demonstrate any connection between Lee’s action and Brigham Young (unless you are already predisposed to see some “connection” the evidence is unlikely to convince you it existed).

All of this is one big red herring, a massive scarlet Pterodactyl you have set circling this discussion and which you keep pointing to and yet it does nothing to reduce the fact that you are avoiding my responses. You instead accuse me of “wiggling” (whatever that is meant to imply) and outright dishonesty; an obvious ad hominem and thus another attempt at avoidance.

You state that “Mormonism either is or isn't true.” Well I don’t know about “Mormonism” but I certainly believe that such an either/or proposition is true of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not Mormon, I am Christian although of the LDS persuasion, and I certainly believe that the system of belief and ritual to which I adhere has value. Of course, its value is an individual assessment and you are free to disagree but you will find me unpersuaded by the evidence you have provided thus far against that belief. Provide a response with substance and we can continue.

You close in extolling my parting query without responding to it at all:

“Your last question was the only one that really had merit. Not the question itself, but the fact that you are questioning, and not accepting blindly. Examine, think and you will see the truth. Why would you want ME to tell you what to accept? There are SO many belief systems out there, hundreds if not thousands. Why is YOURS correct, and not the Hindus', or the Harri Krishnas', or David Koreshs'?”

A major misnomer of almost all that are of your ilk is your belief that LDS Christians are too dull, too gullible, or too ignorant to see the “truth.” The above statement seems to support that you fit the mold rather well. I am extolled for “questioning,” for not “accepting blindly.” If only I shall “Examine” I shall “see the truth.” Of course you are assuming that most LDS Christians do indeed accept blindly, that they do not question. Further you are assuming that an examination will lead to your assertion in relation to “truth” where you have yet to demonstrate that your premises are indeed true.

You want “real, empirical evidence” to “back… up” a “belief system.” Do you know what “empirical evidence” is my friend? It is not merely that which convinces an individual through observation or experience (subjective) but that which can be verified or disproved by observation and experiment (objective). Precisely how many “belief system[s:]” can muster such support? Certainly there are “empirical” evidences which can be presented for any “belief system” but there are always mystical quotients which one can neither prove nor disprove. Indeed, can “empirical evidence” even disprove the existence of God? One can certainly gather “evidence” believed to support one position or another but if you are arguing that I should accept one system of belief or another based upon “empirical evidence” you are again presenting a standard which I believe no “belief system” can measure up to.

Regards,
Matt


message 27: by D'Arcy (new)

D'Arcy Hey Matt, you're SO right! No belief system is based on empirical evidence, but when an assertion is made that God wrote something, the rules change. That's one of the major differences between your book and other ones, except of course the Koran, which was written by the hand of god too... ahem.

But the fact is, none of them can muster such support. That's why they're called 'Faiths'. You have to 'believe' It's really silly really. Your defence of Mormonism is that since all the 'holy' books don't make sense, it's okay for the book of Mormon to not make sense too. But you fail to follow your logic through to the very end. If none of them can muster such support, isn't the next logical step to discount all of them?

After all, any belief system that's given to you, is by definittion not yours. That's what's getting in the way of your (subjective) experience with God. They're ALL made up. ALL of them. You can have a relationship with God without all the hocus-pocus. All you have to do is un-believe! Give it a try, you can always go back to your beliefs if it doesn't work out. :)

As an aside, I've read the Book of Mormon. And my review of it is that if you already believe it all you'll love it, if not, the book is mind blowingly boring and in most parts just badly written and nonsensical. If you're looking for some form of Spiritual awakening look elsewhere.


message 28: by Matthew (last edited Jan 05, 2010 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson D'arcy,

Yes, thank you for chiming in. However I did not state that there is "No belief system" which "is based on empirical evidence" but rather than empirically all belief systems will at one point or another fall short.

For instance, even if one can demonstrate through the available evidence that a set of metal plates with the appearance of gold actually existed one cannot prove that Joseph obtained possession of those plates through the instrumentality of an angel. That is the mystical quotient. If one out of hand rejects the existence of angels then one will look for any other explanation than the one offered. Thus one is predisposed by ones a priori assumptions in ones assessments and ones conclusions.

That all fall short at one point or another in providing evidence for the mystical says only that one cannot prove or disprove that God (or any other mystical entity) exists through empirical means. However, logically, lack of evidence is not evidence (fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantium). One can cite the lack of evidence as ample justification for disbelief or as a plausible void which can be filled by belief.

You assert that “any belief system that's given to you, is by definition [sic:] not yours.” But of course, anything gifted once accepted is indeed “yours.” Further, a “belief system” is rarely “given” but rather adopted. It is a set of ideas, not a toaster.

You also stated that the above is “what’s getting in the way of [my:] (subjective) experience with God… You can have a relationship with God without all the hocus-pocus.” So the fact that my “belief system” is not mine (a dubious assertion) is “getting in the way of” my “(subjective) experience with God?” How? Somehow rejecting that “belief system” will free me to fully “experience… God?” Are you arguing that “belief system[s:]” in some way circumscribe God, limiting ones experience of him/her/it?

I especially like the bit about having “a relationship with God without all the hocus-pocus.” The problem is that the biggest piece of “hocus-pocus,” or what I have referred to as the mystical quotients, is the very existence of God. There may indeed be evidence in support of some “belief system” and its individual claims but there is no evidence for the existence of God unless by extension evidence for a “belief system” is accepted as evidence of the existence of God. God is “hocus-pocus.” If indeed you are advocating “un-belief” than you are suggesting I accept atheism or a lack of belief in God.

Unfortunately, I see too much which cannot be explained to accept that there isn’t something more to it all. I am encouraged that you have actually read the Book of Mormon and I can appreciate your assessment of its literary value (I believe Twain called it chloroform in print) however I do not share your opinion of its “spiritual” value.

Regards,
Matt


Monkey Man Ahhh, but you are wrong, Matt. There IS one (and ONLY one) belief system that is supported by empirical evidence as well as by testable, DISPROVABLE hypotheses:

SCIENCE!!!!

Our brains are full of chemicals and electrochemical activity that evolved to keep us alive, not understand the universe: we are fooled by optical illusions and psychological influences, how can we sort out what is 'real' from what FEELS real?

Testable, repeatable, observable facts.

We all see things that we can't explain, and we put it into the language that our brain evolved to use: stories, anthropomorphism, paradolia (where things look like faces: very useful, but gets in the way, like when you see the face of Jesus on a bagel).

The truth is that the universe is a random, uncaring place, and we, as self-aware beings, have to care for each other and unite, not be divided by unprovable belief systems.

Let me ask you this: If your were born in Saudi Arabia, wouldn't you be Muslim? If you were born in India, wouldn't you be Hindu? Why are you limited by your birth? It's just chance that you were born into a Mormon family, or in a place influenced by the Mormon belief system. Don't be limited by the chance of your birth.

Be free. Be free to see all the beauty from the smallest subatomic particle to the billions of years of evolution that created all life on this planet. Know that loving and caring for your fellow humans is not out of fear of divine punishment, but because, as a self-aware being, you KNOW what their suffering would feel like, and you would want them to do the same to you.

The human brain is fallible, but the solution is to use our tools to measure, observe, record and share, not retreat into unnecessary metaphysical speculation. Simplify. We evolved on Earth and were created by it, not for it.

Best wishes,
Monkey









message 30: by Matthew (last edited Jan 06, 2010 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

Nice bait and switch. I was using the term “belief system” in reference to that which is believed, i.e. “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing” whereas you are using it in reference to “conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.” But of course regardless of how one employs the term there is a certain amount of subjectivity to a declaration of belief as the amount of evidence necessary to convict one or another individual of some truth is certainly not static.

I personally do not feel that science is a “belief system” for science is based upon observable phenomenon, upon forming hypotheses based upon observation which can then be tested through experimentation; if one can disprove ones hypothesis via experimentation than ones hypothesis is false. Science is to me a way of thinking and is no more antithetical to religious belief than is philosophy. Indeed, science does not tell one what is true but rather what is not true.

You assert that “we can sort out what is ‘real’ from what FEELS real” through “Testable, repeatable, observable facts.” But aren’t our observations and our tests, however repetitious, nevertheless perceived by “brains” which are subject to “optical illusions and psychological influences?” If indeed we cannot rely on what we feel how can we rely on what we think? Your declaration undermines your thesis. Either I can or I cannot rely upon my brain and the associates senses I possess to tell me what is.

You opine that “We all see things that we can't explain” but that our responses to such are merely “evolved” ones, attempting to comprehend the incomprehensible in ways that at times mystify them.

You want to disabuse me of misconceptions in deference to the “truth,” “that the universe is a random, uncaring place, and we, as self-aware beings, have to care for each other and unite, not be divided by unprovable belief systems.”

If the “universe is a random, uncaring place” and I am a being within that “universe” why should I resist the inherent indifference of it? Why should I “care” for any other “self-aware beings” or indeed, be concerned about such “beings” beyond the effect these beings can have upon my own existence?

You argue that I should “care” on the basis that I “KNOW what their suffering would feel like, and you would want them to do the same to you.” Actually, there is quite a lot one cannot “KNOW” without having experienced it (let’s call it experiential knowledge). One cannot even attempt to describe the experience of smelling a rose (indeed the explanation would have no basis in reality and no frame of reference) unless one has indeed smelled a rose nor can one attempt to describe the taste of salt without having tasted salt. And these are simple experiences, what of torture or rape? How can a man, lacking the appropriate anatomical characteristics, truly “KNOW what their suffering would feel like?” I can only imagine what their “suffering would feel like” in many instances and if indeed I cannot rely upon anything outside of “Testable, repeatable, observable facts” then I cannot rely upon such tenuous sources of perception.

You ask “Why are you limited by your birth?” You infer that my birth was entirely random, that I could have just as easily been born in “Saudi Arabia” and been “Muslim” or in “India” and been “Hindu.” However, such an assertion is absurd and completely ignores your monolithic standard of truth: science. My appearance and many of my other characteristics are the result of the genetic material contributed by my progenitors. If indeed I am merely a product of a biological process than there is no spirit, no soul, no pre-existent entity which constitutes my being. I could not have been born in “Saudi Arabia” nor in “India” as the gametes contributed to manufacture me existed in the United States, specifically as of 1973, in the state of Utah.

You extol me not to “be limited by the chance of [my:] birth.” I am not LDS because I am compelled to be so but because I choose to be so. I do not accept LDS belief under duress but because I personally find it valuable. There are all sorts of things I am “limited” to “by the chance of [my:] birth” but my religious belief is not one of them. I am indeed a student of religion and have seriously considered several forms of belief including the utter absence thereof.

You also commend me to “Be free.” Be free of what? My religious convictions? You have yet to provide good reason for me to abandon such. Further, you have yet to prove that my religious beliefs prevent me from “see[ing:] all the beauty from the smallest subatomic particle to the billions of years of evolution that created all life on this planet.” Even if it did prevent such a consideration (which I grant only for the sake of argument) the assessment that “the smallest subatomic particle” or “the billions of years of evolution that created all life on this planet” possess “beauty” is another one of those flawed perceptions. Complexity? Perhaps. But beauty? That is far too subjective an assessment to be rooted in “Testable, repeatable, observable facts.”

You also assume that any love or care I express to my “fellow humans” is not the result of empathy or compassion (again, sticky quotients for those who rely on “Testable, repeatable, observable facts”) but from fear of divine retribution. Actually I find myself predisposed for the most part to be a fairly indifferent and selfish person, to consider myself and my needs above all others (with only two exceptions thus far). I find that much of the love and care I express to others is largely intended to result in some form of reciprocation. Indeed, as far as truly desiring to contribute to another’s happiness and fulfillment I have felt that desire for only a handful of other “fellow humans.”

Indeed, I see no logical necessity for conventional social mores and ethical conventions other than the fact that along with the threat of social retribution it is the only thing preventing those not convinced of a higher morality that they should refrain from such things as murder, rape, and the like. However, if a God exists, and if that God encourages a higher morality to mold human beings into resplendent inheritors of His glory, capable of taking upon themselves His image and becoming as He is then there is a deeper and more profound meaning to such things as ethics than merely holding anarchy at bay.

Yes, “The human brain is fallible” but I do not see “the solution” of employing “our tools to measure, observe, record and share” as resulting in infallibility. It isn’t a solution nor is the fact that “The human brain is fallible” a problem.

I do not think religion is the result of merely being unable to adequately explain ones experiences but of experiencing that which “our tools” simply can’t “measure, observe” and “record.” It is indeed empirical having its origin in experience but it cannot be quantified; it cannot be extracted into a syringe and injected into another. However, that does not change the empirical reality of the experience for the individual who experienced it. I see “metaphysical speculation” or more accurately metaphysical elaboration as completely necessary.

Not only does your final sentence misunderstand LDS belief (as we do not assert that we were created for the earth but that the earth was created [organized:] for us) but it is an odd anthropomorphism. The earth did not create us even if your position be accepted. Rather our existence is owed to a rather astronomical incidence which created life on the earth and a rather incredible and fairly unlikely evolutionary path. There is nothing simple about it.

Regards,
Matt


message 31: by Matthew (last edited Jan 05, 2010 11:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

And although you accuse me of being “wrong” I hold to the contention that empirically all belief systems will at one point or another fall short, including science. Remember, meteorology is a science, so taken as a whole even science with all its “empirical evidence” and its “testable, DISPROVABLE hypotheses” still does not necessarily arrive at truth, i.e. a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”

Science provides a best guess (formulated by a fallible brain) based upon the available evidence (which can be incomplete or even inaccurate) and therefore is no assurance of ultimate truth.

Regards,
Matt


Monkey Man You still have not provided any evidence that your book contains any truth.

Good luck,
Monkey


Monkey Man 10 questions to ask a Mormon:

1. Why does the Book of Mormon claim that the Native Americans are the lost tribe of Israel, with horses, metal, advanced civilizations when NO evidence of ANY of this has ever been found? Even DNA evidence, which has been used to find a lost tribe of Israel in Africa, shows no evidence of Middle-Eastern DNA in Native Americans.

2. Why were people with African heritage denied the priesthood until 1978?

3. Why did Joseph Smith claim that the funeral papyri he bought was written by Abraham, when carbon dating showed it was 2000 years too young (AND his translation had nothing to do with the actual words on the papyrus)? (Alternative question: Is the Book of Abraham still LDS scripture?)

4. Why was polygamy ok, and now it's not, even though it's still part of LDS doctrine? http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132/5...

5. Why were 142 men, women and CHILDREN slaughtered at Mountain Meadows?

6. What is the doctrine of Blood Atonement? Have Mormons ever killed each other because of this?

7. Why does the Mormon church oppose gay marriage?

8. Why don't women get to create their own planets after they die?

9. What was Joseph Smith arrested for in New York?

10. If magic underwear protects the wearer, has anyone ever done a comparison, one person wearing the underwear, one not, and seeing which one is harmed if, say, they were both struck equally with a harmful object?


Extra BONUS questions:
Where did the Golden Plates go? What about the magic seer stones? Why is all this important evidence vanishing?


Christina FYI Mr. Bushman also does not believe in the New Testament of the BIBLE. see his second site notation above.


message 35: by Matthew (last edited Apr 22, 2010 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

Although I may disagree with Robert in some respects he may indeed have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this response:

"It's not worth bothering with."

However, I am easily baited. So, you responded:

"You still have not provided any evidence that your book contains any truth."

Precisely what kind of "truth" are you seeking? Logically I need not provide "evidence" unless I am arguing for one proposition or another and the burden of proof lies with the individual forwarding the proposition. You have yet to provide evidence that it isn't true. This does not necessarily mean it is true but it does tend to undermine your argument that it is not.

Your "10 questions" next, no doubt culled from some anti-Mormon repository on the net:

1. Lack of evidence isn't evidence, for or against the Book of Mormon. Further, there are a multitude of considerations involved in population genetics which would adequately account for the lack of the genetic evidence you feel should be present.

2. They weren't. There are clear historical examples of African Amercians being ordained to the priesthood previous to 1978. Unfortunately, they all occured before Brigham became President of the Church. One could say it was a mistaken notion, one that once society had progressed far enough to overcome it's bigotry, was corrected. You would I am sure imput it to something far more sinister.

3. The relationship between the papyri and the text of the Book of Abraham is unclear and ample evidence exists to demonstrate that the papyri presently in possession of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is incomplete. It is quite plausible that the portion no longer extant is the portion from which the Book of Abraham was traslated. Or, perhaps that the Book of Abraham was "translated" in much the same way as the Book of Mormon or the Book of Moses (i.e. with little or no reference to a text).

Regardless, the dating of the papyri is irrelevant. It was common practice in Egypt to recopy a text over and over to preserve it while still imputing its creation to the original author.

I might ask how the Book of Abraham corresponds so well to extant Abrahamic materials to which Joseph had no access?

4. Uh, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away? Ask God. But I think you want to get into the socio-political pressure you feel was being exerted on the Church at the time. Unfortunately, at the time the change was made such pressure had subsided. In the end it is a principle that is observed or abandoned at the Lord's discretion.

5. Oh please, the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Really? There is simply no credible evidence that this was a sanctioned act and therefore no member of the Church need account for the actions of a minority, no matter how horrific.

6. There is no "doctrine of Blood Atonement." Regardless of whether "Mormons ever killed each other" using the alleged "doctrine" as justification (and I am unaware of any instance of such) it would again be an aberration.

7. Because redefining marriage in that way threatens the fabric of society, the heterosexual family. It's a matter of definitions, not of rights.

8. This is just an absurd attempt to impute sexism. The fact is "they are no longer twain." Men and women, sealed together in eternal marriage, share in any divine prerogatives extended to them by God. Seperately they receive nothing. One may as well ask why men who aren't sealed can't inherent Celestial glory.

9. A lot of things. He was arrested multiple times and with one exception aquitted. The only charge he was ever found guilty of was of being a "disorderly person." I am not sure what the significance of this query might be. Trying to bring in treasure seeking?

10. Oh please. No one claims that "magic underwear protects the wearer" and referring to the garment in this manner is disrepectful. The protection it provides is never specifically defined but any protection which might be provided is spiritual in nature (non-tangible) save what might be provided by any additional layer of cloth. Don't confuse popular fictions with actual beliefs.

I have before provided links that provide responses to all of these issues and many of them either dismiss these considerations or render the matter far more complex. Population genetics being one good example (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/displ...). For others you are free to balance your obviously anti-Mormon source material with faithful responses thereto at www.fairlds.org.


message 36: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz Leslie wrote: "Excellent. I would like you to disprove this little rumor that I heard from some one at my school when I was in middle school. (I keep hearing it repeated in different forms over the years as I've..."

thats wrong, no offense. but he was a mason, and he was not kicked out.


message 37: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz 2. The Mormons have stated for over 175 years that the Lamanites are the Jews that came to the Americas around 600 BCE:
Thats is a lie then!
and the way u talk about "science" make sit seem like thats ur religion. how would u feel i kept trying to tell u that Science is wrong. did u know there wouldnt be a science without god to create it!


message 39: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Monkey wrote: "Here is the truth I seek:

http://lintbox.com/wp-content/uploads..."


Hi Monkey,

I'm new to this thread, but I couldn't help respond to your lintbox visual. We'd all like the idealization represented by the left side to be our guide. However, people being fallible rarely, if ever, follow that idealization. I'm a scientist (PhD in chemistry and a practicing chemist for 36 years...now retired) and I'm here to tell you that the idealization on lintbox isn't how science in the real world works. For a current example, just think on the controversy over global warming. There are credible scientists on both sides of that controversy, each looking at the same data and coming to very different conclusions. As with most idealizations, reality is more complicated.

As for the visual on the left purporting to show how faith "works"...it is a gross misrepresentation. There may be some who function that way, but faith is much more than what is misrepresented in that visual. I suspect that those visuals were created by someone who has an idealized vision of science and no understanding at all of the role of faith in our lives.

You most likely will disagree with what I've said. I don't really expect to convince you because it seems reasonably clear that your opinions are pretty well set. But I wanted to put a different viewpoint in writing for those who are interested to see.


message 40: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz You need to open up your heart and try not to contridict everything that we say. thats the only way that you will be able to listen to us wothout fighing.


Monkey Man Ladies and Gentlemen,

Disagree? Fighting? You might be fighting, but I'm having a reasoned conversation.

I'm MORE than happy to change my mind. I LOVE changing my mind. I used to think that eels were gross, slimy, disgusting things, but then I had some in London in a brown sauce, and now I'd eat them every day if I could. Love 'em.

Show me evidence and I'll change my mind. People keep saying to read the Book of Mormon, so I'll say it again, in large, bold letters: I'VE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON and nothing happened. No visions, no ghosts, no voices in my head.

No evidence. Not that me having a schizophrenic episode and hearing voices would be evidence, but if it happened to everyone who read the book, then THAT would be evidence. But it doesn't.

Noel:

I think that you have never in your life had anyone question your core beliefs, have never lived in a different culture and seen that people who believe in Allah, or Confucius, or nothing, are just as happy, love their children just as much, and make food that is just as delicious (mmmm.. EELS!) as you.

John:

Science is based on evidence. There may be different interpretations of the evidence, but there is EVIDENCE. Unlike religion. A network of scientists, professional and amateur, look at the theories and make predictions, then test them. Then they check each others work and test them again. Not one prophet, or 12 deacons, but hundreds and thousands of people around the world. You said that the scientific method is not correct, then pointed to the debate on the causes of global warming as an example. How are those two disparate ideas connected? Please provide some logical connectors.

And if disagreement is your criteria for falsehood, then let's not even BEGIN to look at the contradictions in the bible. Or even the arguments on this discussion site as to weather or not god is flesh and bone, or if you must donate 10% of your Mormon wealth to get ordained, and, consequently, into heaven.

Click here if you would like to learn more about the scientific method.

Best of luck,
Monkey


message 42: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Monkey:

Note that you have misrepresented what I said about the scientific method. You claim that I said "that the scientific method is not correct." If you refer back to my earlier post you will see what I said was that the idealized version of the scientific method represented in the lintbox visual you referenced is not how science in the real world works. I pointed out that the reality of how scientists actually work is more complicated than that. But let us not belabor this any further because I see from the link in your most recent post that you apparently agree with me on this point. The "Introduction to Biology and the Scientific Method" that you referenced gives a very realistic picture of how scientists actually work. You will note that the author of that writing, Bora Zivkovic, gives a graph of the scientific method similar to the one you referenced from lintbox. Then he proceeds to say, "There are two reasons why the Biology textbook does not show a graph like this: a) it is not applicable to biology, and b) it is wrong." So, are we OK on this point? That is, do you agree that the way science actually operates is more complicated than the idealized versions represented by graphs like the ones in lintbox and in the "Introduction to Biology and the Scientific Method"?


message 43: by Matthew (last edited Apr 28, 2010 09:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

You responded:

“Here is the truth I seek”

Providing thereafter a URL linking one to a classic straw man argument juxtaposing “Science” and “Faith.” Actually, I think you will find that the process by which I formulate my belief is very similar to the method outlined under “Science” and has very little in common with the (in my opinion grossly misrepresented) method of “Faith.”

The “Science” flowchart begins with “an idea.” This “idea” is then tested via experimentation. If the resultant evidence supports the inherent assumptions of the idea the idea is then deemed an acceptable theory. If it does not it is branded a “Bad idea” and one moves back to formulating “an idea.” But in actuality science does not merely abandon and idea as “Bad” if the evidence does not support the “idea” but rather it deems the idea, as formulated, unproven. One might formulate other experiments which might vindicate the theory being postulated a scientist hardly abandons an idea as “Bad” merely because the test the devised to vindicate the idea did not lead to evidence in support of the idea.

A better representation of the scientific process is observation which leads to theories regarding that observation; I see it and am postulating why it is so. I then formulate an experiment to vindicate or condemn my theory as an accurate understanding of at least one reason for the observable phenomenon. If condemned it does not necessarily mean that my understanding was false, but rather than the test, the experiment I designed to vindicate my understanding, may be flawed. At this point a scientist actually jumps to step 8 in your little flowchart, not back to step 2. They modify their theory or they modify the test to accommodate new data gleaned from previous experiments.

Still, it has been suggested that you read the Book of Mormon, to which you responded in apparent impatience (accepting that capitalization in such exchanges is usually employed to indicate one is raising ones voice):

“I'VE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON and nothing happened.”

So, based upon our observations regarding gaining conviction of the “truth” of the Book of Mormon, many a Latter-day Saint has suggested that you read the volume. You have “READ THE BOOK OF MORMON” and state “nothing happened.” Does this mean that the idea that the idea that the Book of Mormon is true is a “Bad Idea” and should thus be abandoned? Not necessarily.

The invitation stems from a passage within the text itself, wherein one “Moroni” extols the reader to “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true” promising that “if ye shall ask… he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” But of course, I have failed to outline the precise parameters of the experiment haven’t I. Not only must one “ask” but one must possess the following:

1. “a sincere heart”
2. “real intent”
3. “faith in Christ”

So central to receiving a response you must believe first and foremost that there is indeed a “God” to inquire of. If you reject out of hand that such a being even exists then you are unlikely to inquire with in sincerity and your intent is merely that you might say to those who invite you to embark on the experiment, ‘hey, I did it and nothing happened.’

You must also possess “faith in Christ.” So the invitation assumes that you have already overcome the hurdles of atheism and agnosticism and arrived at a belief in God and in Jesus Christ. Then you must ask of God, in the name of Christ, “if these things are not true” and you must do so in sincerity, from a heartfelt desire to know. You intent must be real, not contrived, not borrowed, not merely a bitter desire to stick it to those damned Mormons who think that everyone gets and answer if they ask.

So, the question would be did you perform the experiment correctly? Do you meet the requisite requirements to embark upon the experiment? If you didn’t then the outcome is by no means assured and therefore the result of your experiment establishes nothing in relation to the ultimate value of the experiment.

Further, if you have already determined that the Book of Mormon is false, that God does not exist, that Jesus was nothing more than a wise peasant whose inane ramblings led to his veneration, death, and enshrinement as a deity, who could no more sincerely inquire of God than you could of the tooth fairy then I have no doubt the result of your inquiry will be precisely in line with that determination. You will hardly be open enough to the matter to be instructed as to its “truth.”

I have many times had conversations about my beliefs and had those beliefs demonstrated incorrect, incomplete, or outright false. This has required a reorientation of my belief to account for the new data but I have yet to be provided evidence that God does not exist, that Jesus is not precisely who he claimed to be or that my experience in relation to the Book of Mormon is merely a “schizophrenic episode.” You disrespectful allusions to lapses in mental health aside you simply haven’t provided evidence that what we believe is indeed false.

And as for providing you with “proof” it is true, I couldn’t care less if you accept it as true. I believe firmly in allowing “all men” the “privilege” to “worship how, where, or what they may” even if they venerate science. I do not believe I can provide you with evidence sufficient to compel you to believe nor would I even if I could as I do not believe that force has any place in religion and therefore would not employ it. But of course, a lack of evidence does not constitute evidence (this is indeed the definition of the fallacy of arguing to ignorance). I may not have proven God exists or that the Book of Mormon is true and that indeed does not establish either proposition but it does not necessarily infer the opposite, that God does not exist or that the Book of Mormon is not true. It simply leaves the matter undetermined.

If indeed it is your contention (which it obviously is) that the Book of Mormon is false, that God does not exist, or any a number of other propositions critical of LDS belief than the burden of proof lies with you to establish that such is the case.

Regards,
Matt


Monkey Man Matt,

Are you aware that you can't prove a negative? If not, please prove there is not an invisible unicorn standing behind you.

You can't.

We can only prove what is actually there. Lacking proof, we must say "There is no evidence that there is an invisible unicorn behind me."

Now, let's apply this to your beliefs. There is no proof that the Book of Mormon is true. Nothing.

To the contrary, many of the claims in the Book can be shown to be false (no DNA evidence that Native Americans have Semitic origin, no steel weapons, no evidence of pre-Columbian horses, the fact that John Smith was convicted of fraud in NY, the fact that the Book of Abraham has NOTHING in common with his professed translation, etc. etc. etc. See previous posts).

Lacking any empirical evidence, other than people who already believe in invisible friends hearing voices, we must conclude that there is no reason to believe the Book of Mormon is true.

John,

You missed the point of my illustration (on purpose?).

Science is complicated; It takes a lot of work and brain power to sift through the evidence and come to a logical conclusion, but faith is so simple and easy to understand. "I believe it, so it's true. Can I go watch "dancing with the stars" now?"

This is the crux of Matts' "You must believe in Christ to believe in Christ" tautology. If that is the only evidence you all can present, then we can only conclude thusly:
"Although many people feverently wish to believe it to be the true word of god, a lack of evidence prevents any logical person from accepting the Book of Mormon as the word of a supreme being."

Please, feel free to believe in Peter Pan, God or Superman, but don't pretend that there is any more evidence for the existence of any one of those three over the other.

Hugs and kisses,
Monkey


message 45: by John (last edited Apr 28, 2010 08:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Monkey,

Did I miss your point? Sorry. What is it? That science is complicated? Gee, I thought that was my point. (Speaking of the lintbox idealization, "As with most idealizations, reality is more complicated." See my original post.)

That you see the issues involving faith as uncomplicated just shows your lack of understanding of the subject. But that makes perfect sense. You apparently don't believe faith is useful in your life, so why would you understand it? It's not a big deal. Why not just say, "I'm a person without faith and I'm proud of it." and go happily on your way? We can feel sorry for you and you can feel sorry for us. It's a win-win situation.


message 46: by Matthew (last edited Apr 29, 2010 08:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Monkey,

I don’t recall attempting to “prove a negative.” However, based upon your application of the analogy, the statement should have been “There is no evidence that the Book of Mormon is not true” if indeed the assertion is “please prove the Book of Mormon is not true.” But of course, there is indeed evidence that the Book of Mormon is indeed an authentic ancient text. Of course, this does little to establish the more mystical claims within the text but there is nevertheless a great deal of evidence. Be careful of those sweeping generalizations as it exposes your petticoat of ignorance.

The Book of Mormon does not make the claim that “Native Americans have Semitic origin.” We have gone over this again and again and you keep ignoring my responses. None of this is new. There are competent responses to every point you mention that either completely dismiss or significantly complicate the matter with which you refuse to interact. I have before referenced both the Maxwell Institute and FAIR to this end. You simply ignore it and continue on your merry way. Fine, bask in the glow of your ignorance.

-Matt


message 47: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz Monkey wrote: "Ladies and Gentlemen,

Disagree? Fighting? You might be fighting, but I'm having a reasoned conversation.

I'm MORE than happy to change my mind. I LOVE changing my mind. I used to think that..."


Sriously!!!! Are you kinding me! i have more experience ten religion then you have. i have live d in foster care my whole life, and i was babtized. then i was moved from home to home. and you wanna know what. Everyone that i lived with got converted to the church. Wanna know why? cause they tried to convince me that my beliefs were wrong. i then had conversations hours at a time about my beliefs and standards. BUT the secret was that they opened up their hearts, and let anything make their mind. they made their own decision.
AND i can bet you that you didnt read the book of mormon looking for answers. you were just looking for things that were wrong. maybe u should read it again with a open heart.


message 48: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz (( sorry for the mishaps.))


message 49: by Matthew (last edited Apr 29, 2010 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Indeed, Noel, I think that Monkey is one of those Stephen Robinson mentioned who study LDS Christianity for the sole purpose of learning where best to land the next blow. Sad really...


message 50: by Noel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noel Stutz thank you.


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