The Book of Mormon is Literary Grand Theft?
Just got my copy of the Elwood “Woody” Norris’ book in which he attempted to show that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing the Bible in virtually every verse.
I AM LOVING IT!!
If ever it was possible for someone to provide empirical evidence based on computer collected data and deductive reasoning, that the Book of Mormon could not possibly have been written by a mortal man, in a short period of time or during any period of time, this book is it!
I agree with the following comment by a Book of Mormon skeptic that posted the following observations on an Amazon review:
“The contents of the book, however, are page after page of examples of how Book of Mormon verses borrow wording from the King James Bible. This is not news. This is not a smoking gun. To a believer this only reinforces faith..
If the author’s main thesis is that Joseph Smith plagiarized the BOM from the KJV, he does little to answer the first question I had after cracking open his book: if it took the author 20+ years of computer-aided research to figure this out, how could a young man in the 1820s accomplish such a feat on his own in as little as 4 years…
So I give this three stars because I appreciate the effort and work put into this book, but the conclusion is one I find intellectually unfounded and too convoluted to be the basis for the Book of Mormon. ”
The only thing I would change about the above comment is that it took about three months to translate it, not 4 years… but I understand that the above skeptic was probably assuming, according to a skeptics point of view, that Joseph was working on the book long before the commonly accepted translation period.. It really doesn’t matter anyway. A group of scholars could not have done the fabrication in a decade, let alone, a nearly illiterate boy in three months.
One of the things that Woody does in the book to prove a point is to provide some fabricated text that is supposed to possibly represent the missing 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that Marin Harris had lost. He implies that it had recently been found.
He then informs the reader after they read it that he really just took a statement from Joseph Smith’s history and modified it to sound like the content in the Book of Mormon. Then the author congratulates himself for having fooled the reader and proven how easy it is the fabricate narrative that sounds like Book of Mormon lingo.
There is just one problem with his little exercise, even though I did not know where he was going with his little exercise, his text lost me after the very first sentence because it clearly did not sound at all like Book of Mormon content.
Not in the least.
Not the content.
Not the writing style.
And I can’t even provide a definitive explanation why, other than there is a very distinct style and more importantly, there is a distinct spirit that accompanies the words of God’s prophets.
The exercise kind of shocked me because I had always assumed that it would not be all that difficult to fabricate text that would sound like the Book of Mormon dialogue.
I should have known better.
I can remember reading the “sealed portion of the Book of Mormon” by Christopher Nemelka and being amazed at how inept he was at creating text that sounded like Book of Mormon phraseology. I guess I should have learned from the folly of William E. McLellin who thought he could fabricate text that could pass as scripture from the D&C
“Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you. Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true;”
I have blogged about Dehlin before.
John Dehlin is once again in the news. It looks like they are finally going to excommunicate him. I personally think that the church needs to be more transparent about history and doctrine and their truth claims, and for that reason, I think that Mormon Stories has had a valid purpose in bringing things to light, even though some of the guests and some of John’s “neutral interviews” were in really, really poor taste.
On the other hand, I am mystified by John’s relentless desire to stay in the church and I find many of his statements to be disingenuous. ( or perhaps he is just in a deep state of denial). Below is a youtube of an interview he had with the SL Tribune and at the 10:41 mark he says, “…people who claim that I am trying take people out of the church, its just wrong, I love mormonism, I value it..”
That is simply not true in my opinion. Many of his angry statements and declarations of unbelief contradict the above claim.
All you need to do is listen to the last 20 pod-casts, particularly the ones with Alex Beam and Jeremy Runnells, and it is very evident that he is angry with the church and he is trying to expose difficult issues and cause a faith crisis in people. He blatantly and boldly claims that most of the truth claims of the church are not true in his writings and pod-casts. Indeed, he has now proclaimed that Mormonstories is going to change it’s focus and help facilitate people in their transition out of Mormonism. It is very interesting that, that did not come up in the interview.
Recently I have been feeling bad for mainstream Mormons because it seems like persecution in the form of mocking their religion has become fashionable and socially acceptable.
There has always been anti-Mormons from the very beginning of the restoration til the present, however, I believe that within just the last decade or two, the attempts by people to ridicule and humiliate Mormons for their beliefs have reached a social tipping point that has led to a new level of socially acceptable anti-mormonism that is very demeaning and degrading.
By this, I am saying that Mormon-bashing has achieved a whole new level of meanness and sophistication. It challenges Mormonism by ridiculing and mocking it rather than by respectfully pointing out the troubling issues. Generally speaking, in the past, most high profile skeptics have taken an almost dispassionate, and more scholarly approach rather than a hateful, mocking, demeaning approach.
In the not to distant past it seems like anti-Mormon literature was mainly done in a semi-respectable arms length, non-personal manner. Nowadays there are increasingly more people who are publicly taking shots at Mormonism and even having fun at the expense of things that Mormons hold to be sacred.
I believe the Internet has played a huge role in this, in that the Internet has the ability of removing social etiquette and inhibitions and appropriateness. Many people, both anonymous and otherwise, have said harsh things and made fun of the religion and members of the religion in ways that they would probably not have done in other social settings. I have personally fallen into this trap regarding some of the brash statements I have made. I have said things online about the church and church leaders that I would never say at the dinner table at a social gathering of any kind… and I believe in the foundational claims of the restoration!
One example of this new generation of Mormon mocking is David Michael, an atheist who is reading the Book of Mormon for the first time on a podcast as he ridicules the religious narrative as a joke. Sadly, he is getting quite a following. Of course, what he is doing is just a variation of the Book of Mormon broadway hit that makes game of a sacred book as well as the quirks of modern Mormonism.
Interestingly, John Dehlin, in his profound love and respect for Mormonism which he supposedly loves so much, has recently interviewed David Michael. He has also recently interviewed a person who participated in the Book of Mormon musical. He has also interviewed the staff of Infants on Thrones, a group of the most angry exMormons who find solice in making fun of all things Mormon. John is getting ready to interview John Larson, one of the most angry, exMormon critics.
Another sign of the times in this regard is “The Lost Book of Mormon” by Avi Steinberg, a Jew that goes around to different Book of Mormon locations while mocking the religion in a self depreciating and entertaining way that is endearing some liberals to him.
A writer on the WheatnTares group blog named Bill Reel, recently spun the Dehlin fiasco as representing the corporate church drawing a line in the sand to stop tolerating doubters in the church.
“The question at the heart of this battle is, “Are Doubter’s Welcome?”
“Are we allowed to have doubts?”
Are you allowed to “Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns”
He then suggests that there are two kinds of doubters in the church:
a) . ” Those who no longer believe, but who want to remain in the Church, but also want to be able to proclaim publicly their unbelief and absolute defiance that their view is right and the Church is wrong.”
b) “The other group that has severe doubts but holds out hope. They dissent but do so recognizing they have no more right to proclaim their stance as absolute truth than the Church institution’s stance, but rather offers their perspective as another view to consider. They [are] acknowledging it as an opinion while simultaneously acknowledging that their opinion could be wrong? Is there a difference between how the church treats/should treat these two groups.”
First of all, I believe there is a third and much much larger group of doubters in the church which Bill neglects the mention. By neglecting to acknowledge this third group I think he creates a very narrow context to the point he is trying to make.
I would describe this third group as follows:
c) The third group are people who have doubts but they respectfully keep them to themselves when attending church meetings and social activities because they realize that church membership is reserved for those that believe and want to fill their lives with faith promoting people and narrative. They don’t want to go to church to debate if the truth claims of the church are true or not.
Ok, now that I have pointed out the third category of doubter, let me just say that neither of the first two groups should be allowed to be in the church in my opinion.
This is why Mrs. Watcher and I left the church. We could not keep our mouths shut at what was being taught and yet we knew that it was inappropriate and disrespectful to disrupt other people’s faith and membership experience, regardless of whether we were correct in our views or not.
Church membership in the corporate church is for those that accept the truth claims of the corporation.
Hint.. That is why you need to make a declaration of belief in order to join the corporation.
Bill makes the following assumption:
“The line it seems is when you begin advocating that your position is more right than the Church’s. It is one thing to say “have you considered such and such” or “I am struggling to reconcile ABC”, but once you have essentially said “ I am right and you are wrong” or “The Church is not historically true and I know that for certain”, you have entered a different space where being considered a faithful Mormon and being left alone unchallenged in this space is not a given nor your right.”
In my opinion, that is not where the line should be. Nobody should be allowed to use their membership to promote a different gospel or agenda, or to disrupt a class or religious social of the corporate church gathering by expressing doubt and skepticism in the basic truth claims of the organization. That is not the purpose of church or church membership.
I think it is fine for quiet doubters to visit with authorities to ask questions and even express doubt, but the church is not a platform for doubters to express doubt openly.
I believe there is a difference between sincere questions vs. blatant skepticism.
I think that raising ones hand in class and sincerely saying “can someone help me understand why there appear to be some conflicting accounts of the first vision” is probably appropriate, however, raising ones hand and saying something like “there is obviously some serious question about the validity of the first vision as demonstrated by the fact that Joseph Smith gave conflicting accounts and did not ever even mention the first vision during the first years of the restored church” is not appropriate.
I am simply saying that I think John Dehlin deserves to be extricated from the church even though some of what he does with his Mormonstories pod-cast serves a valid purpose.
Cancer is a Fungus
I have now lost a mother, two sisters and numerous close relatives to Cancer. It is an insidious curse. Years ago I found a remarkable book called “Cancer is a fungus” by Dr. T. Simoncini, an oncologist from Rome Italy. It is incredible. I believe what he says. In fact I have personally had significant success treating my precancerous skin problems on my arms, face and top of my head by following his instructions.
I recently watched the video below, which exposes the sugar industry conspiracy, which is one of the many causes of our cancer epidemic in this country, and noted that they tell about the findings of Simoncini toward the end of the presentation. I strongly encourage anyone concerned about cancer or even the use of sugar to watch it.
Sugar – cause of Candida – Candida cause of Cancer
BTW have you heard of Gymnema sylvestre? It reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth, and according to some people, the herb blocks 50% of the sugar receptors, decreasing sugar absorption to the body.
I don’t think there are very many coincidences in this world and I don’t think it is a coincidence that the leaders of the Mormon church felt inspired, very early on, to invest sacred tithing money into the sugar industry.
One last thought about cancer.
The conventional Dr that burned, butchered and poisoned my mother as she was dying from cancer, eventually got cancer himself.
You know what he did about it?
He went to Dr. Christopher, a renound herbalist and went the natural route taking herbs like chaparral.
He got cured.
The Spit Test
UFO Spiral Seen in Western Canada – Several Angles.
Swiss De-peg Triggers Massive Derivative Crisis, Potential END OF THE EURO!
Swiss actions have brought a HUGE ACCELERATION of end game events-We’re looking at the potential END of the EURO!
Swiss De-peg Triggers Massive Derivative Crisis, Potential END OF THE EURO!
$2 TRILLION IN SUB-PRIME OIL BONDS ARE ABOUT TO EXPLODE!
Contagion will be bigger than sub-prime housing crash!
Dollar Death-Spike: Fed has LOST CONTROL of the dollar!
Coming European bank failures will result in a STAMPEDE INTO GOLD!
2015 Will be a repeat of Lehman- Several Western banks will go down, This is GAME OVER!
When Putin flips his switch, the DOLLAR IS DEAD, and Gold Will DOUBLE!
GREXIT will blow up the EU!
An 18 Year Old Girl with the Wisdom of Solomon
The other day I came upon a blog written by a young LDS girl whose is getting ready to go on a mission.
I did not get past the few paragraphs before I burst into tears at the depth of profoundness she had arrived at during her awakening.
I tried reading it three different times and the same thing happened each time I read it.
For some reason, what she was saying hit a nerve deep down inside of me. I could not believe what I was reading from such a young person who should still be wet behind the ears.
Here is a sampling of what she said:
“A few months ago, I underwent what some might call a “faith crisis,” which was actually less of a “crisis” and more of an “awakening.”
I’d realized that much of what I considered to be my religion was actually based upon tradition and assumption and not upon truth I’d become a witness of myself. You see, being raised in the Church, I’d always accepted my religion as a sort of “package deal.” By that, I mean that once I’d received a testimony or “good feeling” about a few aspects of the Church, I assumed the whole of it was flawless…
Standing up for your beliefs can actually be an act of cowardice. It’s possible. This happens when you insist upon what you want the truth to be (even in front of other people) because you are too afraid to find it.
Putting your reputation and social status on the line is scary, but what’s even scarier is putting your very perception of truth on the line. When your honest search for truth causes people to think poorly of, reject, persecute, ridicule and hate you; that’s one thing.
But when your honest search for truth flips the world as you know it upside down; when things that you were certain were false turn out to be true and things you convinced yourself were absolute truths are revealed to be the opposite; this is the true test of our existence. Our reaction to truth reveals who we really are…
..God is Truth, and if you want to be one with God, you can’t afford to be afraid of that truth. To put it simply: rejecting truth is rejecting God. God is not only the source of truth; He is the source of life itself. Indeed, rejecting truth is rejecting life. If we desire to draw nearer to Him, we cannot expect for Him to be okay with the silly untruths we hold near and dear to us. To embrace the light and become one with the Light of the World, we can’t have any darkness in us.”
I have no idea what sequence of events led her to the epiphany. I have no idea what she knows or thinks that she knows, but I can tell you that her spiritual maturity is light years ahead of where mine was when I was that age. The humility that she displays is positioning her to receive the light and truth that so many people have shielded themselves from because of the stakes they have set up around themselves.
She has essentially told God that she wants the truth at all costs.
She speaks like she is an 80 year old sagely patriarch or perhaps the writer of Proverbs or Psalms.
Did I tell you she is just 18?
I shared her blog with a friend and this was his comment:
“Thanks for that blog! It truly got my juices flowing! What a spectacular mind for an 18 yr old. I think she represents the new hybrid breed that us older believers have envisioned developing- the ones who know the truth and aren’t at all intimidated by it but rather continue on because of their true foundation on that rock which is Jesus. Perhaps she is the first fruits of the curse of the fourth generation being lifted off?!?!! If so, how exciting. ..honestly!!!”
Amen to that!
The young lady is a sign of the times.
A few posts ago I highlighted a letter I got from an LDS missionary that reads my blog and who has assured me that he is waiting and watching!! He is somewhat of an anomaly also. I would like to think that there are lots of others like these two amazing people. These two need to hook up once they get off their missions and have a bunch of Zion babies because they are obviously representative of the “new breed” that are coming forth now that the curse is being lifted at the end end of the “fourth generation”.
BTW.. did I mention this girl is only 18 and she is getting ready to go on a mission? How is it she has been endowed with the wisdom of Solomon?