Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nephi's Mysterious Vanishing Temple, why didn't he talk about it? —ElGuapo

Even as a kid I remember thinking this was odd. I had studied Old Testament in 9th grade seminary, so I knew what a big deal the building of the temple was in the Bible. So here's Nephi, saying,

QUOTE (2 Ne 5:15-16)
15 And I did teach my people, that they should build buildings; and that they should work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon, save it were not built of so many precious things: for they were not to be found upon the land; wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine.

And then nothing more. I wrote more in my journal about my new Tuff Shed, and the Small Plates of Guapo are exceedingly small. Jacob brings it up later, but by this time it seemed—to me at least—like an afterthought. 'Where to teach the people? Well, we've got this temple here.' (My words, not his.)

QUOTE (Jacob 2:11)
11 Wherefore, I must tell you the truth, according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying, Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee, unto this people.

The next mention of temples is in the land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 1:18). Different temple, right? And this is something like 400 years later, right? So what do you all make of this? Was it too sacred (not secret) to talk about? So much a part of daily life that it's implicit in the story? Covered more fully in the Lucy Harris Translation?

To be clear, I'm not suggesting it should have come up later. After Jacob, only Enos and Jarom stand between Nephi's day and the Time Warp of Omni. I'm curious why Nephi didn't talk about it more.
QUOTE (Bill Hamblin @ May 9 2006, 10:39 PM)
I notice the critics have fallen silent about the supposed absence of references to the temple in the BOM.

Nephi built a temple like unto Solomon's and then never mentioned it again in the small plates. There's not much more to say from a critical POV, is there?

QUOTE (Bill Hamblin @ May 10 2006, 10:58 AM)
I find such a claim utterly astonishing.

Then I must not have expressed it very well. My comment wasn't meant as a refutation to all the implicit "temple talk" that believing members may find in the book. I was only saying that, on the surface at least, Nephi's temple occupies only one verse in his record on the small plates.

What's been amply demonstrated to me so far in this thread is that, for the believers, there are enough implicit temple references to satisfy you concerning the matter. That being the case, though, didn't you at least find this odd at first? I'm just not hearing anyone yet acknowledge that they would have expected more to be said directly about Nephi's temple, its construction, its use, or its fate. Why is that?

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Speaking in tongues in LDS Church, Has anyone seen this recently? —Corky Wallace
I remember from my childhood the AOF position on LDS belief in speaking in tongues, but I haven't heard of it occuring in an LDS church setting anytime recently. Has anyone else? I now attend a Baptist congregation with my family and have observed speaking in tongues, a couple of times. While that was pretty rare, the general atmosphere in our church is pretty "lively", at least compared to what I remember from going to Mormon church or occasionally attending Catholic church. Today there is an article in the SL Tribune about the Pentacostals, certainly even more "lively" than just about every other congregation. Is there any significance to the fairly quiet, somber, "reverent" atmosphere in LDS churches vs a more expressive atmosphere in some of the protestant faiths? I always thought it was interesting that the Article of Faith mentions speaking in tongues when it almost never happens, at least in LDS (and certainly other) groups.
QUOTE (Freedom @ May 6 2006, 11:40 AM)
As far as I am aware, speaking in tongues has never been babbling in some unknown language. ...

Yes, in the early church there were magnificent outpourings of the spirit when people spoke remarkable things but it was was not common. Usually it was accompanied by angelic ministrations as far as I am aware.

You may be surprised how common this was. My best suggestion would be to read Mormon Midwife, a transcript of Patty Bartlett Sessions's diaries. Her daily entries are filled with mundane mention of speaking in tongues.

QUOTE (14 February 1847)
we prayed sung in toungues spoke in toungues and had a good time

QUOTE (28 February 1847)
Br and sister Leonard and sister Buel was here last night we spoke in toungues and had a good time
QUOTE (13 April 1847)
visited sister E R Snow with sister Leonard had a good time spoke in toungues and prophesied the spirit of the Lord was with us

QUOTE (23 April 1847)
we had a good time we prayed propesied and spoke in toungues and interpreted and were refreshed

QUOTE (1 May 1847)
Sylvia and I went to a meeting to Sister Leonards none but females there we had a good metting I presided it was got up by E R Snow they spoke in toungues I interpreted some prophesied it was a feast

These references continue throughout her life.

QUOTE (5 November 1851)
went to the female meeting had a good time sister Angel sung a song in toungues I interpreted have wrote it off

QUOTE (10 March 1852)
I went to the counsel of health Heber gave us a lecture Dr Sprague spoke in toungues I interpreted it was great

QUOTE (19 February 1855)
went to Br Birches to the party they sent a carriage after me we had a good dance a good spirit prevailed many speeches were spoke songs sung speaking in toungues interpretations and thus we spent the time good order and the Spirit of God which caused peace goverened the party and truly it was a good time

QUOTE (29 April 1886)
I have finished another Pair of stockins the Releif Society met here today they had a good meeting speaking in toungues & proffcing &c &c

Speaking in tongues, a sure way to have a good time.

Error in BoM Index, Fix in the next edition? —Bernard Gui

Jeneum was one of the Nephite commanders in the final battles of his people (Mormon 6:14). In the index on p. 173, his name is spelled Jeneam.

Here are two more irrefutable proofs of Joseph's incorrigible character:

BofM Index, p. 321, s.v. SECT, SECTARIAN
—Quotes D&C 123:12 incorrectly: know not "when" to find it

Bible Dictionary, p. 692, first column
—Misspells "greatest": The "greatist" is to minister

I challenge the Mopologists to refute this one.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

What do you say to missionaries?, Exmo encounters with mishies —ElGuapo

I have a good friend and coworker who is a self-proclaimed "Bible-thumping born-again Christian" from Iowa. So the missionaries knocked his door this week, and he invited them in. He didn't have time to visit, but offered to take them to dinner tonight instead. He doesn't have a snowball's chance of becoming a Mormon, but he loves to talk about the Bible and feels like he's being a good Christian by showing these two young men the light.

I asked my friend what he has planned for the elders, and he said he wants to show them a video and ask them what they think of it. Any guesses? It's the Bible vs. BofM video. OK, so my friend firmly believes in "the infallibility of the Bible" and somehow thinks his "even more true" message is gonna help these guys. But setting aside the sales pitch, that video could still open a naive young elder's eyes to many of the challenges to BofM historicity. I told him I wasn't sure it was a good idea.

If you no longer believe in Mormonism, how do you feel about discussing the reasons with missionaries?
QUOTE (suem @ May 4 2006, 02:00 PM)
There was (and probably still is) a family in my mission that was not LDS but were what we all liked to call "dry mormons" (only because we were totally blind). My guess is that they helped more missionaries out of the church than I would have dreamed possible at the time. I am grateful to them for that. I am grateful for everyone who has tried or helped along the way.

QUOTE (Pahoran @ May 4 2006, 03:24 PM)
Yes, we should all be "grateful" to deceitful scumbags who want to "help" us out of our birthright.

Did they do it by ambushing the missionaries like El Guapo's so-called "Christian" friend plans to do?


OK, so I'll call Pahoran a vote against.

FWIW, my friend isn't a deceitful scumbag, and his desire to help is quite genuine. Also not following the "ambush" comment, but I guess it's a matter of perspective.

He won't succeed in "helping them out of Mormonism" of course, but he may send them away feeling dejected, which will in turn give him a feeling of unearned and unrighteous triumph.

Which is what he's after, of course.


Do you ever wish you could hear Korihor's side of the story?

QUOTE (Alma 30:50)
Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance.

Don't know why that just came to mind.

QUOTE (cjcampbell @ May 7 2006, 07:04 PM)
I doubt very much that anyone could expose experienced missionaries to any anti-Mormon media that they have not seen before. All of our missionaries have probably seen or heard just about every anti-Mormon argument that there is.

Was this actually true for you, cj? Where would they have heard/seen it all before? Maybe things are different now because of Al Gore's great invention but the closest I ever came to having my faith challenged on my mission was meeting with the JWs. And that only consisted of them showing us their favorite scripture chain and their interpretation. There was nothing said of any specific Mormon history or beliefs. Anyway, in Elder Guapo's case at least, this statement doesn't ring true.

QUOTE (cjcampbell @ May 7 2006, 07:04 PM)
Frankly, the virulence, dishonesty, and violence of the anti-Mormon movement is almost as valuable in advertising the church as anything put out by the church itself. The typical missionary looks at this garbage and says, "This is all they've got? Hatred, violence, weird distortions of our beliefs? Frothing bigots? Punk rockers with purple mohawk haircuts in wife-beater T-shirts and pins in their noses? Miserable, lonely, bitter old men who have nothing better to do than tell people we are secretly worshipping the devil? Give us a break. If these are the kind of people who hate the church, then I am all the more motivated to spread the word."

Well ... that about sums it up then. All you frothing purple-hair punk rockers can take your nose pins and leave. Wow, quiet in here all of a sudden.

QUOTE (cjcampbell @ May 9 2006, 12:22 AM)
My guess is that if you did not encounter any anti-Mormon literature while you were in your mission you probably were not working very hard.

Brigham Young, Best book about him? —Maestrophil

Hi all!

I don't expect this post to get too contoversial or anything, or to have a long shelf life.

I just finished reading Rough Stone Rolling, and found it to be a very intersesting book about Joseph Smith. I really enjoyed the effort the author made to give a framework of Joseph's family, surroundings and era to help better understand some of his actions. I also felt that the book was quite objective, coming from a believing LDS member, and did not shy away from some of the more "difficult" instances of Joseph's life (without drawing conclusions and Joseph-bashing)

I would love to find a book/books of similar caliber about Brigham Young, whith whom I am not as familiar. Does anyone know of any such works?


Arrington's is probably the best-known biography of Brigham Young, and he's of course a very well respected historian. For a more off-beat look at Brigham's life, here's another suggestion:

Brigham Young's Homes, ed. Colleen Whitley.

On the surface it's a heavily illustrated book about all the places Brigham lived, but it's also full of real-life info about Brigham and his families--and it's quite readable. From the abstract: "The authors discuss, in addition to the buildings themselves, what went on within their walls, looking especially at the lives of Young's plural wives and their children. Their emphasis is on Young's residences as homes, not just structures." I found it interesting, but then I worked for the press at the time and worked on this book, so I'm probably a bit biased.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Why Did God Make It So Difficult?, He does, indeed, move in mysterious ways —Rumination
Reading the give-and-take on this message board, including the wide range of positions/opinions expressed by various posters, leads me to ask, Why did God make it so difficult to believe in him? It's a spectacle, really (no offense intended) to see TBMs and other people of faith try to explain readily observable facts that strongly suggest that if there is a God, he is AWOL. What real evidence exists that God is "up there," let alone one of the LDS variety? If he is "up there," why does he take culturally driven forms (a fact that does much to account for humankind's many different belief systems)? One philosopher said (sorry, I do not recall his name), "A thing is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so." Isn't there good reason to believe that humankind has "thought" God into existence? (This is not what I want to believe, but--for me--it's a highly tempting conclusion.)
I don't think it's so difficult to believe in God, per se. But when it comes to a specific religion, in this case Mormonism, I agree with you. In that case, we're left to believe that God has, whether deliberately (to test our faith?) or passively (concerned with more important things?) allowed observable reality to seemingly conflict with religious teachings. Literal belief in Joseph Smith's mission and stories paints an interesting picture of deity in my mind.
Puns, Word Play in the Book of Mormon, Any? —grego

As a believer that a pun is (one of) the highest form of humor:

Have you found any puns or word play in the BoM? I can only remember one:

Alma 52:20
...desiring him that he would come out with his armies to meet them upon the plains between the two cities. But behold, Jacob, who was a Zoramite, would not come out with his army to meet them upon the plains.

Alma 52:21
And it came to pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds, therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds.
Does this count as word play?

Alma 43:38
While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breast-plates, and their armshields, and their head-plates;

I guess Mormon didn't have an eraser, huh? You gotta love the imagery of dodging the vital body parts being flung by the Lamanites.
DNA and the Book of Mormon, What Exactly Has Been Proven? —Cold Steel

Although I've read a bit on both sides of this issue, I don't really know where things stand. What, exactly, can be proven to date? Does anyone maintain that we presently know enough to say that North American Indians and the South and Middle American Mayan and Aztec tribes are demonstrably not of any stock that could have been from a people living in Jerusalem?

Does anyone take into account, or suggest that it should be taken into account, the curse that the Lamanites were put under? Nephi said: "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity."

"Sore" means to cause misery, sorrow, distress, embarrassment and/or irritation -- so if this were a sore curse, it might very well entail many of these things. "Wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair...the Lord God caused a skin of blackness to come upon them...that they shall be loathsome unto [my] people...." Furthermore, "cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done."

The curse went beyond skin coloring -- that seemed to be merely a marking, for Nephi continued: " And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey."

So this miserable, sorrowful and distressing curse changed the skin color of the Lamanites as well as their very natures. Could it, too, have changed the DNA markers, causing the new, dominant DNA to overwrite that of any Nephites with whom they mixed their seed? In other words, does today's research depend on those markers being preserved through the "cursing" process?

Do BoM DNA critics go so far as to say that genetic research is a clear showstopper or are they willing to concede it's not quite to that point? And finally, what, if any, link exists between South and Middle American and North American Indians? Do they all appear to be from the same stock?

Thanks for any comments!
Do you really want to know? Or are you looking for reassurance that what you already believe is at least plausible? (Could dictate the kind of responses you see here.)

QUOTE (Cold Steel @ Apr 30 2006, 08:15 PM)
What, exactly, can be proven to date? Does anyone maintain that we presently know enough to say that North American Indians and the South and Middle American Mayan and Aztec tribes are demonstrably not of any stock that could have been from a people living in Jerusalem?

Even Simon Southerton acknowledged recently that there was "plenty of room to park your faith" in some aspect of mDNA--I forget which. Whether he or others in the field (waiting for the backlash about whether he's actually "in the field" ...) believe there's any likelihood of Hebrew ancestry is a different matter of course.

QUOTE (Cold Steel @ Apr 30 2006, 08:15 PM)
Does anyone take into account, or suggest that it should be taken into account, the curse that the Lamanites were put under?

Yes, it's been suggested, but please consider the implication--that God didn't just change their DNA: he made it Asian. Seems rather racist, doesn't it?

Some questions if I may. This could probably be its own thread, but here goes:

QUOTE (Great King Peter @ Apr 30 2006, 11:34 PM)
I know next to nothing about DNA. In my 45 years I have learned that what is fact to day might not be fact tomorrow.

So are facts irrelevant then? Is it conceivable that the facts could become clear enough to convince you that Joseph Smith's stories weren't factual?

QUOTE (Great King Peter @ Apr 30 2006, 11:34 PM)
The church is not true or untrue because of mans CURRENT understanding of DNA.

We agree that's not the reason the church is ... whatever it is. So is there a relevant example you're thinking of where the prevailing scientific thought on something as big as Native American ancestry did a 180 because of some new discovery? I'm having trouble picturing this.

QUOTE (Great King Peter @ Apr 30 2006, 11:34 PM)
I would not want to base my beliefs on what science says is fact.

Is it safe to say, though, that you would want your belief to be based on fact? I guess I'm trying to decipher whether you think the current scientific understanding of Native American ancestry is altogether wrong, or just doesn't tell the whole story. From the points you made it's obvious you're not comfortable with the conclusions reached thus far. Others have found ways of reconciling their faith with the emerging scientific story; does your view of the Book of Mormon allow for such latitude?