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Posted: 11/1/2009 4:19:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 4:21:01 PM EST by bullsi]
Decrypting the Mormon Book of Abraham
Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith allegedly translated the adventures of Abraham in Egypt.



Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the supposedly ancient scriptures of the Mormon Church, the Book of Abraham. In 1835 the Church came into possession of some Egyptian papyri, said to have been translated with divine guidance by their prophet, Joseph Smith. Smith reported that the papyri were "the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus." In the book, Jehovah reveals to Abraham the nature of the universe and the order of all things, in a personal conversation, including knowledge of the planet Kolob, which is close to where God lives.

Sometime in the early 1800's, an antiquities dealer named Antonio Lebolo returned from Egypt with eleven mummies and other artifacts, including papyri, from the region around Thebes. Upon his death, the collection was sold at auction, and ended up in an exhibition that traveled the United States, which sold the artifacts off as it went. In 1835 this exhibition reached Kirtland, Ohio, the headquarters of the Latter-Day Saints. The exhibition's proprietor at the time was a Michael Chandler, who was well aware that the church had been founded upon Joseph Smith's claimed translation of gold plates written in Egyptian, which became the Book of Mormon. Chandler gave Joseph Smith a viewing of the collection, which by that time had been reduced to four mummies and a few rolls of papyri containing hieroglyphics, and Smith gave Chandler a cursory translation of some of the papyri.




Shortly thereafter, two church elders, Joseph Coe and Simeon Andrews, purchased the entire collection from Chandler for $2,400, about $60,000 in today's dollars. Smith then took the papyri into seclusion to translate them. At his side were Oliver Cowdery and William Phelps who transcribed. The product of their labors is the Book of Abraham. It's not very long; five short chapters, less than six thousand words. The book includes three Egyptian-looking illustrations done by Reuben Hedlock, a professional engraver who copied them from the actual papyri. The Book of Abraham, with its illustrations, is now included in the Pearl of Great Price, one of the Mormon church's five books of scripture.

Upon Joseph Smith's assassination in 1844, the artifacts were passed to his mother, and then to his widow, who sold them to a collector by the name of Abel Combs. Combs broke up the collection, and about half the artifacts went to the Wood Museum in Chicago, where they were subsequently lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The whereabouts of Joseph Smith's papyri remained a mystery for nearly a century, until a scholar named Dr. Aziz Atiya from the University of Utah happened upon them in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's archives in 1966, recognizing them by one of the illustrations that he knew from the Pearl of Great Price. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the Metropolitan had purchased them in 1908 from the daughter of Abel Combs' housekeeper, including an affidavit from Smith's widow. All of Smith's original papyri had been fragmentary, and these ten pieces probably made up some one-third to one-half of his original collection. The Church bought the papyri from the Metropolitan and brought them back to the Salt Lake City headquarters, where one additional fragment was discovered in the Church's own archives; bringing the total count of Joseph Smith's original papyri that survive today to eleven.

Having the original documents available made it possible for Egyptologists to examine and properly translate them, to see whether they do indeed match what Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps came up with. If they were indeed divinely inspired with translating abilities, you'd think that would be the case. Let's find out.

This is a good time to introduce Thomas Stuart Ferguson, an attorney, amateur archaeologist, author, and Latter Day Saint. Ferguson's lifelong passion was finding archaeological evidence from Mesoamerica that confirmed the Book of Mormon stories. His book One Fold and One Shepherd is considered one of the seminal works on the subject. It was Ferguson who first approached Brigham Young University and persuaded them to create a Department of Archaeology. He founded the New World Archaeological Foundation to bankroll expeditions to Mesoamerica, and even got the Church itself to become a major sponsor of his work.

So imagine Ferguson's excitement at the opportunity to provide a real live black-and-white proof of Joseph Smith's divine inspiration, and an actual historical document, thousands of years old, telling the Book of Mormon stories. Ferguson obtained photographs of the eleven papyrus fragments and sent them to Klaus Baer, a professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago, and to an unaccredited amateur, D.J. Nelson. He also sent copies to a pair of Egyptologists at U.C. Berkeley, Professor Henry Lutz and Leonard H. Lesko, but provided no information about their origin or anything that might link them to the Book of Abraham. All four men quickly came back with the exact same proper identification of the documents.

They were examples of what's called a hypocephalus, meaning "below the head". This is a round papyrus or other inscribed object placed under the head of a deceased person for burial. No two are the same. They are inscribed with a traditional funerary text, often from The Book of the Dead, and this particular one was The Breathing Permit of Hor. The papyri were merely unremarkable burial trappings, quite likely from Antonio Lebolo's original mummies. They had nothing remotely to do with Abraham, the planet Kolob, or anything else found in Joseph Smith's translation. Moreover, numerous Egyptologists since have examined the widely published photographs, and identified in detail everything found in the illustrations. Again, Smith's own callouts and identifications bear no resemblance to the actual contents. Ferguson said "I must conclude that Joseph Smith had not the remotest skill in things Egyptian-hieroglyphics."

The Church has defended Smith's claim against the findings of academia. Hugh Nibley, a late professor of Mormon scripture at Brigham Young University, was the Church's primary apologist for many years. Nibley's main defense was that the papyrus fragments recovered from the Metropolitan did not happen to be the same ones in which Smith found the Book of Abraham, and thus the different translations; after all, perhaps as much as two-thirds of the original papyri have never been recovered. Ferguson scoffed at this suggestion, pointing out that all three of Reuben Hedlock's illustrations exactly match those in the existing papyri.

Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps had also written the Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar, purportedly a guide for understanding the heiroglyphs in the documents they translated, which has remained in the Church's possession. It makes clear references to the heiroglyphs and their positions on the pages, unambiguously referring to the existing papyri. They are clear, additional evidence that the existing papyri are the ones claimed to contain the Book of Abraham. Nibley dismissed the Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar as "of no practical value whatever and never employed in any translation." I have to agree with Nibley here: They certainly do not seem to be of any practical value, but that says nothing about the finding that they do reference the existing papyri.

The papyri have been dated to the first century BC, about 1500 years after Abraham is claimed to have lived, which makes it difficult to reconcile Smith's statement that they were written by Abraham's own hand. Hugh Nibley came to the Church's rescue again, stating that it's common to refer to a book as having been written by someone without literally meaning that that exact volume was created by a pen held in that person's own hand. The Church itself goes even farther, stating that "Joseph Smith never claimed that the papyri were autographic (written by Abraham himself)", implying that there's still a loophole for Smith's claims to be true.

But this is a tenuous position to which to cling. Joseph Smith's introduction to the Book of Abraham reads:

The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.

Joseph Smith also showed a papyrus to Charles Adams, the son of John Quincy Adams, who reported that Smith told him:

This...was written by the hand of Abraham and means so and so. If anyone denies it, let him prove the contrary. I say it.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, Joseph Smith maintained that his papyri were literally written by Abraham's own hand, and that they told Abraham's story. Both are, beyond any reasonable doubt, untrue.

It's not possible to get inside the heads of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and William Phelps, so we can't really know what their honest intentions were. The most cynical analysis concludes that the Book of Abraham's authorship was a fully deliberate fraud, where all three men knowingly conspired to contrive a Bible-style book to add to their doctrine, claiming the papyri as the source when they well knew that it probably had nothing to do with the story they invented. A more charitable version of events has Smith honestly believing he was divinely inspired to translate the papyri, reeling off the tale as it came to him, with Cowdery and Phelps sincere in their faith and transcribing Smith to the best of their ability. Maybe Smith alone knew he couldn't read the papyri and was making up the story, and hoaxed Cowdery and Phelps. All we can say for sure is that its source is absolutely not what the Church claims it is.

The Church says that the significance of the Book of Abraham is that it is "evidence of the inspired calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith." I can find no rational argument that supports this. It is merely evidence that the talents of Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, combined with any divine inspiration any of them may have had, were insufficient to translate a document that is a trivial task for any knowledgeable Egyptologist. Honest Mormons should have grave concerns over the Church's continued promotion of a claim proven to be false. It's time for Mormons with intellectual integrity to demand the Book of Abraham be reclassified as not of any divine inspiration, and its authorship properly assigned to Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, with whatever status the Church likes that does not endorse the bogus translation.

Brian Dunning
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:37:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 4:53:10 AM EST by medicmandan]


Edited ~ medicmandan







Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:41:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 8:45:15 AM EST by Bassman2]
Edited ~ medicmandan

I can't believe my post linking to the Mormon southpark episode was censored!!! WTF?
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:01:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 6:18:34 PM EST by bullsi]
Hey, it's a legit question. I thought about whether to post it. After reading the article I was curious how someone would reconcile this with their beliefs and I know several guys here are going to say more than "Well, I just don't believe that." The argument in the article looks sound, but, I know it may not be and I was hoping to see what the LDS folks here thought. My real interest is not whether it's correct or not but instead, the impact it has on the belief system of those it effects.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:09:58 PM EST
At worst it would put us Mormons on the same ground as Catholics, Jehovahs Witness, Baptists etc...
I still think LDS doctrine is closest to the bible. And a practical religion.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:00:08 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:14:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 5:16:17 AM EST by HardShell]
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:23:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 6:40:15 AM EST by juni4ling]
Originally Posted By bullsi:
Hey, it's a legit question. I thought about whether to post it. After reading the article I was curious how someone would reconcile this with their beliefs and I know several guys here are going to say more than "Well, I just don't believe that." The argument in the article looks sound, but, I know it may not be and I was hoping to see what the LDS folks here thought. My real interest is not whether it's correct or not but instead, the impact it has on the belief system of those it effects.


Here is the argument(s) as I see it from the cut and paste job:

The Church says that the significance of the Book of Abraham is that it is "evidence of the inspired calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith." I can find no rational argument that supports this. It is merely evidence that the talents of Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, combined with any divine inspiration any of them may have had, were insufficient to translate a document that is a trivial task for any knowledgeable Egyptologist. Honest Mormons should have grave concerns over the Church's continued promotion of a claim proven to be false. It's time for Mormons with intellectual integrity to demand the Book of Abraham be reclassified as not of any divine inspiration, and its authorship properly assigned to Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, with whatever status the Church likes that does not endorse the bogus translation.




The Church says that the significance of the Book of Abraham is that it is "evidence of the inspired calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith." I can find no rational argument that supports this.

Critics of the LDS faith will continue to attack the credibility of Joseph Smith. The truth is, "science" sometimes contradicts the truth of God. I still accept the truth of God. Faith will not be what you are looking for, If you are looking for "rational argument." In all actuality, there is some research into ancient Abrahamic lore that provides support for the antiquity of the LDS Book of Abraham. Some of this evidence includes authentic ancient names, traditions, Egyptological interpretations as well as ancient cosmologies—all harmonious with what we find in the Book of Abraham, and generally out of place in Joseph’s milieu.

It is merely evidence that the talents of Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, combined with any divine inspiration any of them may have had, were insufficient to translate a document that is a trivial task for any knowledgeable Egyptologist.

No, it is evidence that scientists or historians have no place trying to interpret spirtual things. Spiritual things can only be understood spiritually. Scientists and historians will always have a problem with spiritual things, because they make no sense when taken out of context.

Honest Mormons should have grave concerns over the Church's continued promotion of a claim proven to be false. It's time for Mormons with intellectual integrity to demand the Book of Abraham be reclassified as not of any divine inspiration, and its authorship properly assigned to Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps, with whatever status the Church likes that does not endorse the bogus translation.

I am an "honest Mormon" and I have no problem with the Book of Abraham. I have no problem with any other scriptures, either. We don't have the "original" Bible, either. I accept the Bible as scripture. I also accept the Book of Mormon as scripture as well. Faith sometimes cannot be explained scientifically. I have no problem with that. Spiritual things can only be understood spiritually. It is pretty simple to me. The truth is, the author of this particular anti Mormon piece based his interpretation on the papyri we have left. The truth is, there are several sources who stated that the papiri they saw Joseph Smith translating filled two rooms.

Guess what... We don't have that anymore, because it was later lost. So the papyri scientists say does not translate into the Book of Abraham was not the papyri Smith used to translate the Book of Abraham... But that argument does not do anyone any good because *spiritual* things can only be understood *spiritually* anyway.

Joseph Smith had in his possession three or four long scrolls, plus a hypocephalus (Facsimile 2). Of these original materials, only a handful of fragments were recovered at the Metropolitan Museum. The vast majority of the papyri remains lost, and has probably been destroyed.

Critics who claim that we have all, or a majority, of the papyri possessed by Joseph Smith are simply mistaken.


If anyone is sincerely interested in seeing the LDS answers to many of the anti-Mormon claims regarding the Book of Abraham, you can check them out here:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Papyri/FAQ

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:52:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By HardShell:
Looks like it came from here: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4168

(Which IMHO should have been referenced above, since it's a C&P job...)



The authors name is at the bottom of the article.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 7:00:02 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 7:52:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By bullsi:


Originally Posted By juni4ling:

The Church says that the significance of the Book of Abraham is that it is "evidence of the inspired calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith." I can find no rational argument that supports this.

Critics of the LDS faith will continue to attack the credibility of Joseph Smith. The truth is, "science" sometimes contradicts the truth of God. I still accept the truth of God. Faith will not be what you are looking for, If you are looking for "rational argument." In all actuality, there is some research into ancient Abrahamic lore that provides support for the antiquity of the LDS Book of Abraham. Some of this evidence includes authentic ancient names, traditions, Egyptological interpretations as well as ancient cosmologies—all harmonious with what we find in the Book of Abraham, and generally out of place in Joseph’s milieu.


Guess what... We don't have that anymore, because it was later lost. So the papyri scientists say does not translate into the Book of Abraham was not the papyri Smith used to translate the Book of Abraham... But that argument does not do anyone any good because *spiritual* things can only be understood *spiritually* anyway.





Smith, Cowdery, and Phelps had also written the Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar, purportedly a guide for understanding the heiroglyphs in the documents they translated, which has remained in the Church's possession. It makes clear references to the heiroglyphs and their positions on the pages, unambiguously referring to the existing papyri. They are clear, additional evidence that the existing papyri are the ones claimed to contain the Book of Abraham. Nibley dismissed the Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar as "of no practical value whatever and never employed in any translation." I have to agree with Nibley here: They certainly do not seem to be of any practical value, but that says nothing about the finding that they do reference the existing papyri.

This paragraph seems to make it clear that we are talking about the same papyri that was translated by Smith.


The papyri have been dated to the first century BC, about 1500 years after Abraham is claimed to have lived, which makes it difficult to reconcile Smith's statement that they were written by Abraham's own hand. Hugh Nibley came to the Church's rescue again, stating that it's common to refer to a book as having been written by someone without literally meaning that that exact volume was created by a pen held in that person's own hand. The Church itself goes even farther, stating that "Joseph Smith never claimed that the papyri were autographic (written by Abraham himself)", implying that there's still a loophole for Smith's claims to be true.

But this is a tenuous position to which to cling. Joseph Smith's introduction to the Book of Abraham reads:

The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.

Joseph Smith also showed a papyrus to Charles Adams, the son of John Quincy Adams, who reported that Smith told him:

This...was written by the hand of Abraham and means so and so. If anyone denies it, let him prove the contrary. I say it.

This appears to be an outright fabricationby the church. They say something is not true and Joseph Smith says it is.

I am aware of the "you can't understand spiritual things argument", the thing is, it's usually the last card played. When science or alternate historical sources fail to validate a position we get "you just can't understand because ...xyz... hasn't revealed it to you like he has me/us/them “. It seems to be a reoccurring thing that when science validates a belief everyone stands up and cheers but when it can't or contradicts it we get "you just can't hold god to mans standards". Essentially, once and idea has grown up and become a belief, especially a belief that is shared by others it is no longer subject to scrutiny, it is placed in an ivory tower and carefully guarded against anything that may be harmful to it.

I’m not arguing for or against any of this because I understand why people need to believe things, I’m just interested in how and why people get from “maybe” to “I’m so sure that even contrary evidence is irrelevant”. This just seemed like a good example with clear-cut evidence. In the case of a biggie like this it would be catastrophic to many people to have their whole world view fall apart over one article, and that’s another argument used- “I believe all this stuff, books full of it and years spent studying it, one piece of paper can’t possibly undo all that.” What if that piece of paper was a written admission by Smith that it was all made up? I don’t know or care if Smith lied or not, the point is that if he did, 2000 lies are no less true than just one lie. Any good liar will tell you that the more elaborate and “bulky” the story, the more apt it is to be believed, with the listener wondering “why would anyone make all this up”?





Link Posted: 11/2/2009 8:25:24 AM EST
Actually I don't see any of this affecting Joseph Smith's credibility.


After all, those who accept Joseph Smith Jr. as a prophet do so because of the confirmation that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, just a little while ago I was reading a book about the study of the Egyptian, Sumerian, and other early Middle Eastern civilizations, and how our understanding of them and their writings is still in relatively early stages. No, the book have nothing to do with the LDS Church nor its interests. I wouldn't be surprised at all if later experts on Egyptian writings find that Joseph Smith's translation of the facsimiles are much more accurate than current experts think.

So, at the end of the day it still comes back to people's faith.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 8:38:47 AM EST
Something else to consider. Much of the papayri from which the Book of Abraham came is still missing. Some critics insist that the record has been found, but then fail to account for the fact that only the original copy of facsimile 1 has been found.

That we know of, only 13% of the original papayri which Joseph Smith had was ever recovered, with most of it being destroyed in the Chicago fire. Critics frequently fail to mention that the original copies of facsimile 2 and facsimile 3 are still gone.

In summary, the fact that approx. 13% of the original papayri has been recovered, and that the recovered portion refers to funerary materials, neither disproves nor proves anything regarding the validity of the Book of Abraham as translated by Joseph Smith.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 8:51:54 AM EST
Shane, when the papyri were originally found, didn't the Mormon church make the claim that it was in fact the papyri used in the translation?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 9:18:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 9:21:09 AM EST by Shane333]
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Shane, when the papyri were originally found, didn't the Mormon church make the claim that it was in fact the papyri used in the translation?


Correction: The translation (or at least part of it) did come from the papyri (as is evidenced in the use of the facsimiles). The problem we have today is that we only have a small fragment of the original papyri. Some people insist that the approx. 13% that we have is the section of the papyri that was used in the original translation. When one considers that about 85% or more of the papyri was lost (much of it destroyed in the Chicago fire) it is premature to assume that the 13% that was found is the section that was used for the translation.

My point is that it isn't a 1 to 1 correlation as far as how much of the papyri was actually translated. Some assume that the Book of Abraham is supposed to begin with the beginning of the papyri and be a complete translation of it, instead of the translation only encompassing one portion of the entire papyri.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 9:30:32 AM EST
Does the modern translation of the 13% correspond to anything in the Book of Abraham?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 10:37:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Does the modern translation of the 13% correspond to anything in the Book of Abraham?


Other than facsimile 1, I'm not aware of any of the 13% corresponding with the Book of Abraham.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 11:26:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 12:43:41 PM EST by juni4ling]
Originally Posted By bullsi:

The papyri have been dated to the first century BC, about 1500 years after Abraham is claimed to have lived, which makes it difficult to reconcile Smith's statement that they were written by Abraham's own hand. Hugh Nibley came to the Church's rescue again, stating that it's common to refer to a book as having been written by someone without literally meaning that that exact volume was created by a pen held in that person's own hand. The Church itself goes even farther, stating that "Joseph Smith never claimed that the papyri were autographic (written by Abraham himself)", implying that there's still a loophole for Smith's claims to be true.

This appears to be an outright fabricationby the church. They say something is not true and Joseph Smith says it is.

I am aware of the "you can't understand spiritual things argument", the thing is, it's usually the last card played. When science or alternate historical sources fail to validate a position we get "you just can't understand because ...xyz... hasn't revealed it to you like he has me/us/them “. It seems to be a reoccurring thing that when science validates a belief everyone stands up and cheers but when it can't or contradicts it we get "you just can't hold god to mans standards". Essentially, once and idea has grown up and become a belief, especially a belief that is shared by others it is no longer subject to scrutiny, it is placed in an ivory tower and carefully guarded against anything that may be harmful to it.

I’m not arguing for or against any of this because I understand why people need to believe things, I’m just interested in how and why people get from “maybe” to “I’m so sure that even contrary evidence is irrelevant”. This just seemed like a good example with clear-cut evidence. In the case of a biggie like this it would be catastrophic to many people to have their whole world view fall apart over one article, and that’s another argument used- “I believe all this stuff, books full of it and years spent studying it, one piece of paper can’t possibly undo all that.” What if that piece of paper was a written admission by Smith that it was all made up? I don’t know or care if Smith lied or not, the point is that if he did, 2000 lies are no less true than just one lie. Any good liar will tell you that the more elaborate and “bulky” the story, the more apt it is to be believed, with the listener wondering “why would anyone make all this up”?



You need to realise that most of us Mormons have been on two-year missions. We have faced-off with anti-Mormons before. We have heard it all before. We have heard it all already. Everything in your cut-and-paste most Mormons have already been asked, and it has already been answered.

And, to make clear Faith begins and ends in Faith.

This appears to be an outright fabricationby the church. They say something is not true and Joseph Smith says it is.

To be clear, those were your own words, not ones from the article. And, I don't see it that way. Joseph Smith translated by the power of God. Your personal argument that somebody is lying holds no air with me.

To answer your question from http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Papyri (its pretty easy to cite sources):

The date of the Book of Abraham vs. the date of the papyrus
It seems reasonable to conclude that Joseph believed that Abraham himself, with pen in hand, wrote the very words that he was translating. Most modern scholars (including LDS scholars), however, date the papyri to a few centuries before Christ.

This issue is very similar to that of Book of Mormon geography. It is very likely that Joseph Smith believed in a hemispheric Book of Mormon geography—it made sense to his understanding of the world around him. Like anyone else, Joseph tried to understand new information by integrating it with his current knowledge. So, likewise, with the Abrahamic papyri: Joseph, by way of revelation, saw that the papyri contained scriptural teachings of Abraham. It would be natural, therefore, to assume that Abraham wrote the papyri.

As Dr. John Gee (PhD, Egyptology, Yale) explains, there is a major difference, "between the date of a text [the information contained on the papyri] and the date of a manuscript [the papyri itself]."[2]

The date of a text is the date when the text was written by its author. A text can be copied into various manuscripts or translated into other languages, and these manuscripts or translations will have different, later dates than the date of the original text. When we refer to the date of a text, we refer to the date of the original text. For example, the text of the Gospel of Matthew was written in the first century A.D., but the earliest manuscript that we have of Matthew was copied in the third century.[3]
It's possible that the original Book of Abraham "text" was written by Abraham and then "passed down through his descendants (the Jews), some of whom took a copy to Egypt where it was copied (after being translated) onto a later manuscript."[4] As Dr. Gee (PhD, Egyptology, Yale) notes, "some of the texts in the Book of the Dead manuscripts from the same time as the Joseph Smith Papyri (and even later) are also attested in manuscripts that go back before the time of Abraham."[5]


I am aware of the "you can't understand spiritual things argument", the thing is, it's usually the last card played. When science or alternate historical sources fail to validate a position we get "you just can't understand because ...xyz... hasn't revealed it to you like he has me/us/them “. It seems to be a reoccurring thing that when science validates a belief everyone stands up and cheers but when it can't or contradicts it we get "you just can't hold god to mans standards".

Faith is Faith. It is a pretty simple concept. Cynics, critics, and (with Mormons) anti-Mormons can try to tear down faith all they want... And this articular argument has been around a long time. I was on my mission in 1993 answering the same critics, cynics, and anti-Mormons. And to be clear, I have never ever seen anyone "converted" by science, or facts. Never. I have never seen anyone (LDS or otherwise) moved by the Spirit of God by science or facts. I have never (in my LDS experience) ever seen faith "played" as the "last card." I have only ever seen it "played" as the *only* "card." My faith is not based on science or historical facts.

In regards to this particular argument, I think that there are interesting "facts" that corroborate the claims of Joseph Smith, and the LDS Church. But you simply dismiss them as being "convenient."


I’m not arguing for or against any of this because I understand why people need to believe things, I’m just interested in how and why people get from “maybe” to “I’m so sure that even contrary evidence is irrelevant”. This just seemed like a good example with clear-cut evidence.

Yeah, right. Contradictory evidence is always "evident" if that is the way you think. The scriptures make clear there will always be opposition to God's people. Think about Noah, the prophet. He could not convince anyone to get on the Ark besides his family.

What if that piece of paper was a written admission by Smith that it was all made up? I don’t know or care if Smith lied or not, the point is that if he did, 2000 lies are no less true than just one lie. Any good liar will tell you that the more elaborate and “bulky” the story, the more apt it is to be believed, with the listener wondering “why would anyone make all this up”?

You realise that Joseph Smith was killed for his beliefs, right?

Kind of looks a little weird from your perspective to have someone completely dedicated to their position... So dedicated to die as a martyr, then turn around and be a liar? I really don't think so. Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his own blood. Looks to be pretty dang seriously dedicated to his teachings to me.

The truth is, Joseph Smith did a lot of good when he was on the earth. He was a Prophet of God. But just like Noah having difficulty convincing people to get on the Ark, Mormons sometimes have difficulty convincing people that he was a true Prophet.

I believe (with Faith) that he was a true prophet.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 11:34:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By Shane333:
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Does the modern translation of the 13% correspond to anything in the Book of Abraham?


Other than facsimile 1, I'm not aware of any of the 13% corresponding with the Book of Abraham.


Thanks.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 11:39:10 AM EST
You know, when one small portion of the papyri was discovered, the Church made it publically available pretty darn fast. If any more is found I'm sure that the Church will make it publically available as well.

Such openness in displaying these ancient writings seems really, well, "open" as far as the Church's behavior.

The irony in some of this discussion is that if the Church had something to hide, it wouldn't have made the recovered documents so publicly available.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:01:20 PM EST
Originally Posted By Shane333:
You know, when one small portion of the papyri was discovered, the Church made it publically available pretty darn fast. If any more is found I'm sure that the Church will make it publically available as well.

Such openness in displaying these ancient writings seems really, well, "open" as far as the Church's behavior.

The irony in some of this discussion is that if the Church had something to hide, it wouldn't have made the recovered documents so publicly available.


Seems fair enough to me.

I am not Mormon, couldn't even say that I know any in real life.

Like all religions/sects the Mormons have some things to answer for in their pasts, as do most in regards to the treatment of women, minorities, American Indians, ad nauseum.

What I fail to understand is why so many modern day sects of Christianity dislike the Mormons so much?

I can't recall the last time I heard of a Mormon cult/sect/group blowing themselves up in a shopping mall.

Mormons got some strange beliefs? Sure. Baptists? Heck yeah. Catholics? Obviously.

But, WTF is up with the amount of grief given to Mormons about their particular beliefs.

Someone gimme the cliff notes, cause I just don't see the impetus for the number of questions asked of Mormons compared to other Protestants/Catholics.

TRG
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:29:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 1:00:11 PM EST by Shane333]
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By Shane333:
You know, when one small portion of the papyri was discovered, the Church made it publically available pretty darn fast. If any more is found I'm sure that the Church will make it publically available as well.

Such openness in displaying these ancient writings seems really, well, "open" as far as the Church's behavior.

The irony in some of this discussion is that if the Church had something to hide, it wouldn't have made the recovered documents so publicly available.


Seems fair enough to me.

I am not Mormon, couldn't even say that I know any in real life.

Like all religions/sects the Mormons have some things to answer for in their pasts, as do most in regards to the treatment of women, minorities, American Indians, ad nauseum.

What I fail to understand is why so many modern day sects of Christianity dislike the Mormons so much?

I can't recall the last time I heard of a Mormon cult/sect/group blowing themselves up in a shopping mall.

Mormons got some strange beliefs? Sure. Baptists? Heck yeah. Catholics? Obviously.

But, WTF is up with the amount of grief given to Mormons about their particular beliefs.

Someone gimme the cliff notes, cause I just don't see the impetus for the number of questions asked of Mormons compared to other Protestants/Catholics.

TRG


Cliff notes: When the LDS Church was first organized it experienced really rapid growth. In some cases entire congregations joined the LDS faith together. One such example was the congregation of Sidney Ridgon, a Baptist-Campbellite minister who himself also joined with the LDS. The result was a rapid change in the religious demographics in many frontier communities. As one can imagine, that kind of rapid religious demographic shift often sparks strong negative responses from the "established" religious institutions that either face a rapid loss in their own membership, or simply the loss of their own religious influence.

Much of the animosity started there and never really subsided.

...also worth mentioning is that in some cases the early LDS members came accross as very arrogant. This didn't help the increasing negative feelings.

Another reason for much of the early animosity was the fact that most of the early LDS members were abolitionists. Slavery being a very hot topic in the 1830's and 1840's in Missouri and Illinois, this was like throwing gasoline on a fire.

That, in short, is where most of the animosity started.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:03:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 1:05:37 PM EST by Dino]
depends on who your asking

If you ask a Mormon, their views on the translation will come from a position of faith. It will have no effect on his credibility to a faithful man or woman.

If you ask an anti-Mormon bigot, it will be proof positive that Joseph smith was a fraud and the Church of Latter Day Saints is a fraud.

If you ask someone like me, who doesn't have faith in the particular religion but isn't hostile toward it, you might get the answer that it doesn't matter. Every religious book has problems when examined in a critical light. Every religious book also has greater Truth. Even if every word of the Book of Mormon is a lie, having read it I can tell you it has some pretty enlightening things to say about becoming a responsible, kind, and loving human being. And the proof is in the pudding, Mormons are some of the best people you could ever know. By their fruits.....

Probably the best thing you can say for Mormons is they don't spend their time trying to disprove other people's Holy Books, that seems to be the realm of insecure atheists and *gasp* bigoted Christians.

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:03:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:



What I fail to understand is why so many modern day sects of Christianity dislike the Mormons so much?

Why is it that you cannot discern between the individual - "Mormon(s) .... and the RELIGION -
Mormonism?




I can't recall the last time I heard of a Mormon cult/sect/group blowing themselves up in a shopping mall.

Mormons got some strange beliefs? Sure. Baptists? Heck yeah. Catholics? Obviously.

But, WTF is up with the amount of grief given to Mormons about their particular beliefs.

Someone gimme the cliff notes, cause I just don't see the impetus for the number of questions asked of Mormons compared to other Protestants/Catholics.


Here is a thread where a poster has shown that the "Book of Abraham", which is held up as sacred and authoritative in the Mormon religion, is not what it claims to be....

And you stare at your computer in amazement that someone would mention that?

Of course it is notable.

Of course it is worthy of question and discussion.

And you mention the comparison between "Mormons and Protestants/Catholics" ....

Well, the latter groups hold to traditional Christian beliefs, while the Mormon religion is VASTLY different, while choosing to CALL itself Christian.

My guess is, if some gun grabbing, liberty hating liberal founded some organization and called itself a group committed to protecting Second Amendment rights, you would have some criticisms to level against said group, contrasting them to the real deal.

To think that the same would not happen in these matters?

Someone is asleep at the wheel.

TRG


Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:06:48 PM EST
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:20:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 1:20:14 PM EST by TheRedGoat]
Originally Posted By criley:

And you mention the comparison between "Mormons and Protestants/Catholics" ....

Well, the latter groups hold to traditional Christian beliefs, while the Mormon religion is VASTLY different, while choosing to CALL itself Christian.





Mormonism, is not a religion. Not by definition. It is a sect of Christianity.

I don't particularly stare in amazement, I am mostly curious why the Mormons tend to be sneered upon by most other Christian sects.

Last I checked, the Protestants and the Catholics have drawn quite a bit of each others blood over their, 'traditional' beliefs, as you put it.

I am fairly certain that if a group of Mormons moved in down the street, my crime rate would not go up.

TRG
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:44:59 PM EST
Another interesting sidenote is the start of bad relations between the LDS and the FreeMasons.

All in all there were approx. 1,500 members of the LDS Church in Illinois, overwhelmingly in the Nauvoo area, who became FreeMasons - this at a time when the total number of non-LDS Masons in Illinois lodges barely reached 150.


Let's just say that "lodge envy" went through the roof.

In August 1842, Bodley Lodge No. 1 protested the granting of a dispensation to the Nauvoo Lodge, resulting in a temporary resulting in a brief halt to lodge activities while an investigation was made. The investigation found that the Lodge at Nauvoo was growing quickly (there were about 300 new members at the time) but that the books were in order and there were no irregularities meriting disolussion. The end result was that even more "dispensations" were granted for new lodges in the area.

After more complaints from neighboring lodges, another investigation was made in October of 1843. Lucius Scovil and Henry G. Sherwood went to the Grand Lodge to answer the allegations and the examining committee found their books to be in order. Still because of the envy situation a year long suspension was suggested until Grand Master Abraham Jonas declared that the books of the Nauvoo Lodge were the best kept he'd seen.

Well, the examination committee insisted on going to Nauvoo to investigate further and found all in order, but the lodge was again suspended anyway. The injunction was removed (again) but relations between the Nauvoo Lodge and non-LDS Lodges kept going downhill and the "charter" for the LDS lodges were eventually all revoked.



The result was bad blood between the LDS and the FreeMasons for a long time. When the LDS settled in the Rocky Mountains, the FreeMasons refused to grant charters for any new lodges until a large enough population of non-LDS gathered in the Utah territory to form a completely non-LDS lodge. LDS members weren't even allowed to join the lodges in Utah until more than a century later.

The result is pretty telling. Utah is the second smallest Masonic jurisdiction in North America, with only Prince Edward Island having a smaller jurisdiction. Some time around 1984 the ban on LDS members was lifted, but the church members didn't flock to join. I've personally read a letter from the secretary to the First Presidency (the Church's prophet and his two counselors) sent to a local bishop per someone's inquiry regarding joining the Masons. The LDS leadership does not forbid joining the FreeMasons and don't speak ill of them either, but I noted the very clear inference that they aren't "encouraging" anyone to join the FreeMasons. Sort of a "cool but civil" relationship between the two.

A shame, because if the FreeMasons had been more welcoming then Utah would have likely been one of their biggest strongholds.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 1:45:51 PM EST
Originally Posted By mamasboy:
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.


Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:24:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By Shane333:
Originally Posted By mamasboy:
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.




Why the confusion?

mamasboy confused Smith with Young, but the idea is correct. Didn't Young claim that there were inhabitants of the moon who dressed like Quakers?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:29:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Originally Posted By Shane333:
Originally Posted By mamasboy:
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.




Why the confusion?

mamasboy confused Smith with Young, but the idea is correct. Didn't Young claim that there were inhabitants of the moon who dressed like Quakers?


http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=mormons+on+the+moon

TRG
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:32:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By criley:

And you mention the comparison between "Mormons and Protestants/Catholics" ....

Well, the latter groups hold to traditional Christian beliefs, while the Mormon religion is VASTLY different, while choosing to CALL itself Christian.

TRG


criley is one of the Mormon-haters, or anti-Mormon Christians on Arfcom.

I'd say that Mormons do more than call themselves "Christian."

I know that hate is hate, and you might never see that Mormons follow the teachings of Christ... But there were more than a few "Christians" waiting in line for resources in the parking lot of a "Mormon" church in Mississippi when I responded there with the LDS church for Katrina... Criley might not say that we were following the teachings of Christ when we went in there to take care of more than just our own... But following the teachings of Christ are at the very core of Mormon doctrine. Mormons truly believe (contrary to haters like criley) that we are saved through the atonement of Christ.

And criley does probably won't ever say it, but the official name of the church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

The name of the church is pretty clear who we worship, and what teachings we follow...
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:37:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By mamasboy:
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.


That is one of the interesting lines coming from Mormon-haters.

I ask anti-Mormon "Christians" for a source when they quote that one...

Suddenly, they aren't so *honest* and *confident* with their knowledge of Mormon doctrine.

The funny thing is, I looked at an anti-Mormon book that had listed all sorts of outrageous accusations, and quotes... Not a single reference or original source in the entire book... And it was on the shelf of a "Christian" bookstore... And the lady behind the counter stated "That is the best source for information regarding the Mormons." I told her that I was a Mormon, and asked if the book was so awesome, why there were no references, or orignal sources, just an author on the front page. I think I almost gave her a heart attack. Go figure...
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:55:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By juni4ling:
Originally Posted By mamasboy:
Isn't he the one that said there were People living on the Moon.


That is one of the interesting lines coming from Mormon-haters.

I ask anti-Mormon "Christians" for a source when they quote that one...

Suddenly, they aren't so *honest* and *confident* with their knowledge of Mormon doctrine.

The funny thing is, I looked at an anti-Mormon book that had listed all sorts of outrageous accusations, and quotes... Not a single reference or original source in the entire book... And it was on the shelf of a "Christian" bookstore... And the lady behind the counter stated "That is the best source for information regarding the Mormons." I told her that I was a Mormon, and asked if the book was so awesome, why there were no references, or original sources, just an author on the front page. I think I almost gave her a heart attack. Go figure...


I'll just reiterate this, I really don't care if Mormons think that there are/were people on the moon. I dunno of any religion, or sect, that does not believe something that is so far outside of Science/History/Logic that is can be discredited almost at a person's leisure.

What Shane333 posted kind of makes sense why there would be some particular animosity with Mormons/Mormonism in some circles such as the Masons. (I am from the South, so I get the whole 'lingering grudge' thing)

Just curious what the deeper rift must come from to generate such persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. Polygamy? Touching kids?

David Koresh was not Mormon, but you don't hear people bashing his sect for his (reportedly) pedophile actions. Hilter was a Christian, but you don't hear people maligning Christianity for his membership, etc.

What part of the Mormon 'stereotype', in your opinion, causes the current/past angst?

TRG
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:16:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By juni4ling:


criley is one of the Mormon-haters, or anti-Mormon Christians on Arfcom.



Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:

Just curious what the deeper rift must come from to generate such persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. Polygamy? Touching kids?


TRG


I guess this is indicative of the time in which we live......

It is entirely disingenuous to label discussions "hate."

Many groups love to label those who disagree with them and their doctrines as "bigots" and "haters."

It is a weak attempt to deflect attention away from the facts of the matter at hand, and turn things into an "emotion-fest."

No Mormons have been "attacked" in this thread.

No Mormons have been "hated" in this thread.

A poster presented a logical question based on historical fact.

Mormons are entirely free to believe as they choose to believe.

They are entirely free to call themselves Christians.

I am entirely free to state facts that show that statement to be false.

It is not "hate" to do so.

It is not "bigoted" to do so.




Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:25:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By criley:
Originally Posted By juni4ling:


criley is one of the Mormon-haters, or anti-Mormon Christians on Arfcom.



Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:

Just curious what the deeper rift must come from to generate such persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. Polygamy? Touching kids?


TRG


I guess this is indicative of the time in which we live......

It is entirely disingenuous to label discussions "hate."

Many groups love to label those who disagree with them and their doctrines as "bigots" and "haters."

It is a weak attempt to deflect attention away from the facts of the matter at hand, and turn things into an "emotion-fest."

No Mormons have been "attacked" in this thread.

No Mormons have been "hated" in this thread.

A poster presented a logical question based on historical fact.

Mormons are entirely free to believe as they choose to believe.

They are entirely free to call themselves Christians.

I am entirely free to state facts that show that statement to be false.

It is not "hate" to do so.

It is not "bigoted" to do so.






Ease up, buddy, and carefully re-read this part, "persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. "

I was speaking about the Mormons not being known for crime, hate, or discontent.

Not your posts.

I see posts here, often, questioning Mormons about their beliefs more than I see people questioning Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism.

Nobody seems more concerned about Mormon's beliefs than other Christians. FWIW, I can't recall seeing any other group derided more for their beliefs than the Mormons. Just curious what the thorn was in other people's oxen about them.

TRG
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:27:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 5:42:20 PM EST by IAMLEGEND]
.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 3:28:24 PM EST
For those who would actually like to look at information for themselves, I would recommend this:

http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Many articles and papers by not only "regular" folks but Ph.Ds and Egyptologists who disagree with some of what has been presented above. Anyone ignorant enough to comment on their "knowledge" without having fully investigated the issue is not worth a response. The "discussion" will certainly degenerate to the predictable




(Sorry the link isn't hot. I ain't computer savvy enough.)


And, IBTL.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 4:29:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 4:30:53 PM EST by ARLady]

Originally Posted By astro:
For those who would actually like to look at information for themselves, I would recommend this:

http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Many articles and papers by not only "regular" folks but Ph.Ds and Egyptologists who disagree with some of what has been presented above. Anyone ignorant enough to comment on their "knowledge" without having fully investigated the issue is not worth a response. The "discussion" will certainly degenerate to the predictable




(Sorry the link isn't hot. I ain't computer savvy enough.)


And, IBTL.

A website with the stated purpose of "defending Mormonism" isn't exactly what I'd call neutral and unbiased though.

I think a part of the rift is that there is a perception that LDS has hijacked the label of Christianity by virtue of the fact that they incorporate the person of Jesus Christ in their belief system.

Edited to remove the extraneous verbage.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:13:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By Dino:
depends on who your asking

If you ask a Mormon, their views on the translation will come from a position of faith. It will have no effect on his credibility to a faithful man or woman.

If you ask an anti-Mormon bigot, it will be proof positive that Joseph smith was a fraud and the Church of Latter Day Saints is a fraud.

If you ask someone like me, who doesn't have faith in the particular religion but isn't hostile toward it, you might get the answer that it doesn't matter. Every religious book has problems when examined in a critical light. Every religious book also has greater Truth. Even if every word of the Book of Mormon is a lie, having read it I can tell you it has some pretty enlightening things to say about becoming a responsible, kind, and loving human being. And the proof is in the pudding, Mormons are some of the best people you could ever know. By their fruits.....

Probably the best thing you can say for Mormons is they don't spend their time trying to disprove other people's Holy Books, that seems to be the realm of insecure atheists and *gasp* bigoted Christians.



Well said sir.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:13:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By criley:
Originally Posted By juni4ling:


criley is one of the Mormon-haters, or anti-Mormon Christians on Arfcom.



Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:

Just curious what the deeper rift must come from to generate such persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. Polygamy? Touching kids?


TRG


I guess this is indicative of the time in which we live......

It is entirely disingenuous to label discussions "hate."

Many groups love to label those who disagree with them and their doctrines as "bigots" and "haters."

It is a weak attempt to deflect attention away from the facts of the matter at hand, and turn things into an "emotion-fest."

No Mormons have been "attacked" in this thread.

No Mormons have been "hated" in this thread.

A poster presented a logical question based on historical fact.

Mormons are entirely free to believe as they choose to believe.

They are entirely free to call themselves Christians.

I am entirely free to state facts that show that statement to be false.

It is not "hate" to do so.

It is not "bigoted" to do so.






Ease up, buddy, and carefully re-read this part, "persistent attacks against a group that is really not known for crime, hate, discontent. "

I was speaking about the Mormons not being known for crime, hate, or discontent.

Not your posts.

I see posts here, often, questioning Mormons about their beliefs more than I see people questioning Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism.

Nobody seems more concerned about Mormon's beliefs than other Christians. FWIW, I can't recall seeing any other group derided more for their beliefs than the Mormons. Just curious what the thorn was in other people's oxen about them.

TRG


Could it be their assertion that theirs is the "One True Church on the Face of the Earth," and by necessity, all others must be false?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:14:26 PM EST
Hmmm.... Am I to understand that you Criley are a christian? If we see the 'fruits' of your behavior, then I see anger and hate directed toward a group that does not feel this back toward you. Contention was rife among the sadducees, pharicees, and essenes and Jesus warned against this contention and argument. In this strife The Holy Spirit cannot abide and must depart. Be very carefull in your dealings with those that clearly do not agree with you. Turn the other cheek? More advice from our Savior. Ask a member of the LDS church what they beleive. They will tell you. Trying to tell others about which you know absolutely nothing about is not helping yourself. If I am curio0us about Buddhism for example, I will ask a robed senior monk. Then I will ask his subbordinates....then...the congregation. The very very last thing I might do is check out the detractors for perspsctive. I have found detractors in all religions and have found them to be unhappy, unfulfilled souls needed guidance and love and not obtaining it.

The 14 Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints:

1-We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2- We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

3-We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4-We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5-We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6-We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7-We believe in the gifts of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8-We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9-We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10-We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11-We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12-We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13-We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul –– We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.


Is there something in there you have a specific problem with? Please, I would like to hear it. As for credibility of Joseph Smith, Only he is responsible for what he said, did, and wrote. I beleive in the Article 9 of the above very much and have faith that more will be revealed in time. Can a relatively uneducated man translate ancient and unknown written languages that tell of ancient civilzations awaiting the birth of Christ and his death? I ask you this: Does the God of ancient Isreal and the Creator of this world live today and guide its development? Then YES! A prophet for this day and age is needed even more than in those times! Point to me one that was ordaned by God and given the AUTHORITY and the keys of revelation of old. Go ahead. I'll wait. I can name several. Is it time for cocoa and cookies?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:25:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By ARLady:

Originally Posted By astro:
For those who would actually like to look at information for themselves, I would recommend this:

http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Many articles and papers by not only "regular" folks but Ph.Ds and Egyptologists who disagree with some of what has been presented above. Anyone ignorant enough to comment on their "knowledge" without having fully investigated the issue is not worth a response. The "discussion" will certainly degenerate to the predictable




(Sorry the link isn't hot. I ain't computer savvy enough.)


And, IBTL.

A website with the stated purpose of "defending Mormonism" isn't exactly what I'd call neutral and unbiased though.

I think a part of the rift is that there is a perception that LDS has hijacked the label of Christianity by virtue of the fact that they incorporate the person of Jesus Christ in their belief system.

Edited to remove the extraneous verbage.


A website with the stated purpose of "defending Mormonism" isn't exactly what I'd call neutral and unbiased though.

Not all of the resources at that particular website are by members of the LDS faith. In fact, if you actually look at it, you will find that there are a lot (a lot) of references to actual sources for the information. Something you might not find at anti-Mormon sources of information on Mormonism. I have found that anti-Mormon "Christians" and Mormon-haters like taking things out of context, and/or outright lying in relation to Mormon doctrine. I have found that Fairmormon.org is a very effective website in defending against lies and distortions relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

There are several prominent non-Mormon professors who are very effective defenders against lies and distortions propogated by anti-Mormon "Christians" and Mormon-haters in relation to early LDS history for instance.


I think a part of the rift is that there is a perception that LDS has hijacked the label of Christianity by virtue of the fact that they incorporate the person of Jesus Christ in their belief system

Guilty as charged. We worship Jesus Christ. We follow Jesus Christ. We are His church. I would not say that we have hijacked the label of Christianity, though. A Christian is a person who follows Jesus Christ. I think it would be difficult for somebody to say that members of the LDS church do not follow the teachings of the Saviour... Anti-Mormon "Christians" and Mormon-haters have a problem with Mormons, but that is no love lost for me... They will hate us anyway...
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:39:34 PM EST
I am glad we have this forum, for I have learned over the years that Mormons are followers of Jesus Christ.

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:55:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By juni4ling:
Yeah, right. Contradictory evidence is always "evident" if that is the way you think. The scriptures make clear there will always be opposition to God's people. Think about Noah, the prophet. He could not convince anyone to get on the Ark besides his family.

What if that piece of paper was a written admission by Smith that it was all made up? I don’t know or care if Smith lied or not, the point is that if he did, 2000 lies are no less true than just one lie. Any good liar will tell you that the more elaborate and “bulky” the story, the more apt it is to be believed, with the listener wondering “why would anyone make all this up”?

You realise that Joseph Smith was killed for his beliefs, right?

Kind of looks a little weird from your perspective to have someone completely dedicated to their position... So dedicated to die as a martyr, then turn around and be a liar? I really don't think so. Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his own blood. Looks to be pretty dang seriously dedicated to his teachings to me.

The truth is, Joseph Smith did a lot of good when he was on the earth. He was a Prophet of God. But just like Noah having difficulty convincing people to get on the Ark, Mormons sometimes have difficulty convincing people that he was a true Prophet.

I believe (with Faith) that he was a true prophet.


Firstly, I appreciate your responses and the time you have spent on them.


If that is the way I think, then yes I would be more likely to draw supporting conclusions from any data and the same holds true for any believer of any particular faith. I have had discussions with lots of people of very different faiths and universally they always filter any data through their belief system and draw conclusions that support their beliefs. That's understandable , it's how human minds work. If everyone believes something different they can't all be correct... or can they. If it is "what they believe" then yes, they can all be correct when making statements about what they believe, but they can't all have the truth. I'm just interested in how faith reacts to facts.


A lot of people have died for what they believe, that doesn't automatically make them honest or above reproach. I don't venerate Joseph Smith so it would actually be easier for me to objective about his life than if I had attachment to his reputation. David Koresh died for what he believed in and ironically many people followed him and believed all the things he told them.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:57:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By Shane333:
Another interesting sidenote is the start of bad relations between the LDS and the FreeMasons.

All in all there were approx. 1,500 members of the LDS Church in Illinois, overwhelmingly in the Nauvoo area, who became FreeMasons - this at a time when the total number of non-LDS Masons in Illinois lodges barely reached 150.


Let's just say that "lodge envy" went through the roof.

In August 1842, Bodley Lodge No. 1 protested the granting of a dispensation to the Nauvoo Lodge, resulting in a temporary resulting in a brief halt to lodge activities while an investigation was made. The investigation found that the Lodge at Nauvoo was growing quickly (there were about 300 new members at the time) but that the books were in order and there were no irregularities meriting disolussion. The end result was that even more "dispensations" were granted for new lodges in the area.

After more complaints from neighboring lodges, another investigation was made in October of 1843. Lucius Scovil and Henry G. Sherwood went to the Grand Lodge to answer the allegations and the examining committee found their books to be in order. Still because of the envy situation a year long suspension was suggested until Grand Master Abraham Jonas declared that the books of the Nauvoo Lodge were the best kept he'd seen.

Well, the examination committee insisted on going to Nauvoo to investigate further and found all in order, but the lodge was again suspended anyway. The injunction was removed (again) but relations between the Nauvoo Lodge and non-LDS Lodges kept going downhill and the "charter" for the LDS lodges were eventually all revoked.



The result was bad blood between the LDS and the FreeMasons for a long time. When the LDS settled in the Rocky Mountains, the FreeMasons refused to grant charters for any new lodges until a large enough population of non-LDS gathered in the Utah territory to form a completely non-LDS lodge. LDS members weren't even allowed to join the lodges in Utah until more than a century later.

The result is pretty telling. Utah is the second smallest Masonic jurisdiction in North America, with only Prince Edward Island having a smaller jurisdiction. Some time around 1984 the ban on LDS members was lifted, but the church members didn't flock to join. I've personally read a letter from the secretary to the First Presidency (the Church's prophet and his two counselors) sent to a local bishop per someone's inquiry regarding joining the Masons. The LDS leadership does not forbid joining the FreeMasons and don't speak ill of them either, but I noted the very clear inference that they aren't "encouraging" anyone to join the FreeMasons. Sort of a "cool but civil" relationship between the two.

A shame, because if the FreeMasons had been more welcoming then Utah would have likely been one of their biggest strongholds.


Thanks, I knew there was a rift but never new the facts.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:57:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:

Could it be their assertion that theirs is the "One True Church on the Face of the Earth," and by necessity, all others must be false?


We certainly claim that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.

We certainly claim that there was a "falling away" of true Christianity during the Dark Ages.

There would be no point to being a religion if it did not claim to have the power and authority of God.

But this right here is an excellent example of anti-Mormon bigotry and hate....

Because (almost) *every* religion claims to be *right.*

I have Catholic friends... Yep, they are pretty dang sure they are right. Fundamentalist Christains, and Christians of every variety... Yep, same thing. Jewish friends... They are right, and everyone else is dead wrong.

(As a funny side, we have had the same conversation amongst each other... 'Why all the Mormon hate?' They can't figure out the bigotry and hate either...)

But Mormon-haters justify their hate based on the fact that "Mormons think they are right, while everyone else is wrong..." As if that somehow makes their bigotry and hate against Mormons somehow acceptable.

The truth is, anti-Mormon "Christians," and Mormon-haters and bigots don't want to admit that almost every major religion on the planet claims to be the *one.* There are some Polyanna, hug-a-thug, and Kumbaya groups that think *everyone* is right. But *most* claim to be the only way...

So when Mormons say that we are led by Jesus Christ, and we are God's organization on this earth, that somehow justifies bigotry and hate against the church?

Makes sense.

The truth is, the LDS Church is growing worldwide... There are some "yapping dogs" here and there... But for the most part Mormons are highly respected. The LDS church is growing while many other churches are shrinking in active membership... Go figure.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:00:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By Shane333:
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Does the modern translation of the 13% correspond to anything in the Book of Abraham?


Other than facsimile 1, I'm not aware of any of the 13% corresponding with the Book of Abraham.


Is the papryi mentioned in the article included in the 13% that you speak of or is it something newer?
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:11:45 PM EST
Originally Posted By juni4ling:
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:

Could it be their assertion that theirs is the "One True Church on the Face of the Earth," and by necessity, all others must be false?


We certainly claim that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.

We certainly claim that there was a "falling away" of true Christianity during the Dark Ages.

There would be no point to being a religion if it did not claim to have the power and authority of God.

But this right here is an excellent example of anti-Mormon bigotry and hate....


Lighten up, Francis.

There is nothing anti-mormon, bigoted, or hateful about my post. To try to characterize it as such is absurd.

Members of other religions are going to disagree with you. It doesn't make them bigoted or hateful. Slinging around those accusations does nothing to further the discussion, it only shuts it down. But maybe that is what you want. . .
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:21:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
'Seems fair enough to me.

I am not Mormon, couldn't even say that I know any in real life.

Like all religions/sects the Mormons have some things to answer for in their pasts, as do most in regards to the treatment of women, minorities, American Indians, ad nauseum.

What I fail to understand is why so many modern day sects of Christianity dislike the Mormons so much?

I can't recall the last time I heard of a Mormon cult/sect/group blowing themselves up in a shopping mall.

Mormons got some strange beliefs? Sure. Baptists? Heck yeah. Catholics? Obviously.

But, WTF is up with the amount of grief given to Mormons about their particular beliefs.

Someone gimme the cliff notes, cause I just don't see the impetus for the number of questions asked of Mormons compared to other Protestants/Catholics.

TRG


My guess is that it's because the Mormons claim "new" revelation and the others don't believe it is revelation at all. The implications of this are huge for a non-Mormon. It basically means God is not with you because he chooses to reveal "new stuff" to someone else that makes them "newer and better" or "more chosen/favored" than you. It implies that the Mormons are doing things that puts them in Gods favor and conversely the others are not. If Mormons were accepted for what their beliefs imply them to be, "Gods new favorite people" , that belief would have to be internalized and would result in feelings of inferiority and put pressure on others to follow along and even worse, admit they are wrong. I sorta see all that the same way as the whole thing with the Jews being the chosen people, it’s a really great, empowering belief....if you happen to be Jewish or, in this case, Mormon. I mean WOW, psychologically speaking, it would be kick-ass to know that God likes me more than anyone else.

Another problem is the incompatibility with accepted doctrine/beliefs. I think most other Christian religions claim that nothing new is to be added to the sacred scriptures, so the book of Mormon is not only wrong, but also a heresy in the eyes of some believers. People have huge investments in their religious beliefs, even those that only go a few times a year will come unglued at the thought that what they hold to be the key to eternity may not actually fit the lock.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:24:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:
Originally Posted By juni4ling:
Originally Posted By RobertHanson:

Could it be their assertion that theirs is the "One True Church on the Face of the Earth," and by necessity, all others must be false?


We certainly claim that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.

We certainly claim that there was a "falling away" of true Christianity during the Dark Ages.

There would be no point to being a religion if it did not claim to have the power and authority of God.

But this right here is an excellent example of anti-Mormon bigotry and hate....


Lighten up, Francis.

There is nothing anti-mormon, bigoted, or hateful about my post. To try to characterize it as such is absurd.

Members of other religions are going to disagree with you. It doesn't make them bigoted or hateful. Slinging around those accusations does nothing to further the discussion, it only shuts it down. But maybe that is what you want. . .


You should have quoted him completely- because his point is incredibly valid.

Most anti-mormon literature uses the same point you just made to explain why it's OK to deride Mormonism: The church claims to be true. Yet, as he points out, so do all the Abrahamic faiths.

If you want a religion that preaches it's not the only one to adhere too, be a Buddhist. But don't be Christian, cause Jesus was pretty dadgum clear that he's the ONLY way, truth, and life.

Strait is the way, and narrow is the gate, and all that.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 6:30:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By bullsi:
If that is the way I think, then yes I would be more likely to draw supporting conclusions from any data and the same holds true for any believer of any particular faith. I have had discussions with lots of people of very different faiths and universally they always filter any data through their belief system and draw conclusions that support their beliefs. That's understandable , it's how human minds work. If everyone believes something different they can't all be correct... or can they. If it is "what they believe" then yes, they can all be correct when making statements about what they believe, but they can't all have the truth. I'm just interested in how faith reacts to facts.

A lot of people have died for what they believe, that doesn't automatically make them honest or above reproach. I don't venerate Joseph Smith so it would actually be easier for me to objective about his life than if I had attachment to his reputation. David Koresh died for what he believed in and ironically many people followed him and believed all the things he told them.


I believe in what I believe because the Spirit of God touched me, and that is why I believe in what I believe.

Joseph Smith was murdered by an angry mob... Angry that he claimed to be a prophet of God. The mob ran away after he was killed, and hid their crimes. Many in the mob wore masks. They wore masks because what they were doing was against the law of the land. Joseph Smith, like other true Christians, was murdered as a martyr for his beliefs. Joseph Smith is honored and revered by Mormons around the world as a prophet of God.

Your statements about David Koresh relating to Joseph Smith are a little weird. First of all, Joseph Smith was killed for his teachings of Christ. Koresh was killed by law enforcement, they had found that Koresh was violating the law of the land. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was murdered by a mob intent on killing him for his beliefs. There was no other reason for the murder... They were killing him because he was the Mormon prophet. David Koresh took his followers (including some children) with him. Big (huge) difference.

Koresh was not killed for his beliefs. He was killed by law enforcement in a botched raid to bring him to justice. David Koresh does not meet the requirements for a martyr.

A martyr is one who is killed for his or her beliefs. Joseph Smith clearly meets that requirement. The only reason Joseph Smith was killed was because he claimed to be a prophet. That is why Joseph Smith died as a martyr.

David Koresh died at the hands of law enforcement.

Sure, you can trivialize Joseph Smith's death (and other martyrs) by saying that other people have died. Lots of people have died... But have they been *killed* for their beliefs? That is the qualification to me... The dictionary definition of a Chrisitan Martyr is one who is killed for following Christianity. That would disqualify Koresh, but it clearly qualifies Joseph Smith... Ever since he took the mantle of prophet, he was a special witness for Christ, and there were no other explanations for his murder other than that they were killing him for his beliefs...

To anti-Mormon "Christians," Mormon-haters, and bigots, there is no difference. One man was murdered for being a prophet by an angry mob that ran away and tried to hide their crime. Another got a lot of women and children hurt... Two completely different things.

The truth is, the scriptures teach that you can know a true prophet by their "Fruits." Based on that, I think it is difficult to question the validity of Joseph Smith.

When Joseph Smith left his family to go to Carthage where he was murdered, he knew he was going to die. He kissed his wife goodbye and let her know that he was going to be killed. He didn't take her with him. We call that a clue when it comes to figuring out what kind of a man Joseph Smith was.

You would do well, if you are sincerely trying to learn about the Mormon church, to learn about Joseph Smith's life. He was a man among men, and a powerful leader and teacher. And... His teachings have lasted. They did not end when he died. And the LDS church gets bigger every year.
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