Episode 157: Top 10 Anachronisms of the Book of Mormon

John and Zilpha are joined by Garen (George) and Brandt to discuss the anachronisms in the Book of Mormon.

Episode 157

267 comments on “Episode 157: Top 10 Anachronisms of the Book of Mormon”

  1. Megan Reply

    For the record – no, no wristwatches at the time of Shakespeare! ;). Also, there were water clocks in Rome…

    Drive-by nerd corrections and pedantry!

    M’okay, off to actually listen to the podcast now…

    • brandt Reply

      Megan, I read that one of the anachronisms in Julius Cesar by Shakespere was that they used sundials or Roman “rope clocks”, not clocks that would tick.  Was that true?

      • Megan Reply

        Well… I mean… kind of. The Romans had water clocks and those were pretty elaborate (or could be). There are records of clocks fitted with gongs and other noise makers – I think Vitruvius mentioned them and he was 1st C BCE.  So I COULD go all apologist and say, natch Shakespeare was totally thinking of a water clock that, we can surmise, was rigged to strike the hour…

        … but I won’t! Particularly as I haven’t read all of Julius Caesar in years and really don’t remember the situation and how it was described!

        *But not a pendulum one as that would be anachronistic, being invented in the 1650’s, well after William.

  2. Patriarchal gripe Reply

    More pedantary here.  The Germans flew jets in WWII, the ME-262 and ME-163.  The were actually quite terrifying to the allied aircrews initially, but German production was unable to produce enough to be a game changer in the air war over Europe.

    Also, Garen asked why the wine couldn’t have been some type of non-alcoholic wine.  Answer, you can’t get the Lamanites drunk on non-alcoholic wine in order to effect a takeover and release Nephite prisoners.

    • jasonp Reply

      Great point gripe. Alma 55:3-18 describes Captain Moroni tricking the Lamanite guards into getting drunk so he can free the Nephite prisoners. This could not have simply been grape juice.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE
      “Also, Garen asked why the wine couldn’t have been some type of non-alcoholic wine.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Grape juice naturally ferments.  The only way to stop the fermentation process is to pasteurize the grape juice – a process that wasn’t invented until 1869 by Dr. Welch:

      “The method of pasteurizing grape juice to halt the fermentation has been attributed to an American physician and dentist, Thomas Bramwell Welch in 1869. A strong supporter of the temperance movement, he produced a non-alcoholic wine to be used for church services in his hometown of Vineland, New Jersey. His fellow parishioners continued to prefer and use regular wine.

      His son, Charles E. Welch, who was also a dentist, eventually gave up his practice to promote grape juice. In 1893 he founded Welch’s Grape Juice Company at Westfield, New York. The product was given to visitors at international exhibitions. The oldest extant structure associated with the company is Welch Factory Building No. 1, located at Westfield, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.[2]

      As the temperance movement grew, so did the popularity of grape juice. In 1913, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan served grape juice instead of wine during a full-dress diplomatic function, and in 1914, Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, forbade any alcoholic drinks on board of naval ships, actively replacing them with grape juice.

      During World War I, the company supplied “grapelade,” a type of grape jam, to the military and advertised aggressively. Subsequent development of new grape products and sponsorship of radio and television programs made the company very successful.”
      (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grape_juice#Welch.27s_Grape_Juice )

    • Garen George Reply

      For the record, I was just trying to give the typical answer that you would hear from attending church every week. I do like the response of the takeover of the Nephite prisoners. 

    • Kevin Reply

      The British also flew a jet in WWII called the Gloster Meteor. Also, the ME-163 was a rocket plane, not a jet.

      Who’d have thought this would come up at Mormon Expression? Love that pedantry!

      • Anonymous Reply

        US Navy also had a jet fighter by 1944 but it didn’t see combat. Japanese and Russians also produced jet fighters, so did the italians and others.

        The german ME-262 was the first official jet powered fighter but only saw combat for a few months. The ME-163 was rocket powered but that was a different concept and proved to be a rather poor fighter.

        “Love that pedantry!” …well one should get their facts right if one is to criticise others

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          Yet another ad-hominem?  Amazing. 

          OK, so John Larsen’s analogy on the podcast wasn’t perfect – analogies rarely are. 

          Big frakin’ deal Dark Matter! 

          How about addressing the evidence that discredits the Book of Mormon that was presented in the podcast rather than straining over rhetorical gnats that were peripheral to the core message  of the podcast. 

          Oh, and by the way, John Larsen wasn’t the only one on the podcast so you can cease and desist with these classic “If I discredit the messenger maybe I can discredit the message too!” LdS Apologist tactics – they’ve played and ain’t no one here buyin’ what you’re selling mate!

    • Garen George Reply

      When John mentioned the “Jets” issue while we were recording the podcast, my alert radar went off. I knew that there were early jets flown during the war and should have mentioned it. It caught me off guard and I didn’t have quick proof to refute at the time. Who would have ever thought I’d have to have the history of jet aviation during WWII at hand during a discussion of BOM anachronisms? Good catch and thanks for the details of what exact planes. I have a good friend who was in Germany recently and had his picture taken in front of a ME-262. Really sick looking aircraft. 

      Sorry all, should have said something. 

  3. Richard of Norway Reply

    This was awesome! Loved Brandt and it was nice to have George (I’ll still call him George, for now) back!! I think it went well and everybody was civil and brought up some excellent points. Great job!

  4. Megan Reply

    I love that you guys included anachronistic concepts as well as the better-known anachronistic materials, technologies and animals!

    Re KJV language – it isn’t just that the language is anachronistic, it’s that the BoM uses quotations from a single specific edition of the Bible. See, even with the first print run of 1611 there were differences between the volumes – there’s a famous example in Ruth where ‘he’ is used in one verse and ‘she’ is used in another. As more editions were brought out more errors crept in (my favorite is ‘the Wicked Bible’ which sort of left out ‘not’ from the adultery commandment). A major effort to clean things up was begun in the 18th century – around 1760 I think – so there was a NEW run of different text.
    In other words, if someone quotes enough of a KJV text scholars can tell exactly which edition, from what date, and often from which printer the author was using as reference based on those nuances of language. Naturally the BoM is ideal for this as great whopping chunks of the Bible were thrown in. So Nephi – or whoever – not only quotes KJV language, he quotes from one single edition of the KJV that just happened to be the one that was available to JS. I can’t remember if it’s known for certain that his family did own that edition of the Bible or not, but it is absolutely true that the version quoted is appropriate for JS’s own life time. So apparently not only is the KJV of the Bible the One True Version, but the One True Version is the one used by the Smith family in the 1820’s and NOT the one used today!

    This seriously compounds the problem!

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE
      ” I can’t remember if it’s known for certain that his family did own that edition of the Bible or not, but it is absolutely true that the version quoted is appropriate for JS’s own life time.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Megan, your comments brings up an interesting historical point.   The following is from Michael Marquadt’s inventory of books known to be owned by Joseph Smith, Jr.: 

      New York Period:
      The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Together with the Apocrypha: Translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. With Canne’s Marginal Notes and References. 
      Cooperstown, (N.Y.) Stereotyped, Printed and Published by H. & E. Phinney . . . 1828 
      [King James Version, with revisions of 1769] 
      Location: RLDS archives

      Flyleaf: 
      The Book of the Jews And the property of 
      Joseph Smith Junior and Oliver Cowdery 
      Bought October the 8th 1829 at Egbert B Grandins 
      Book Store Palmyra Wayne County New York 

      Bottom of flyleaf: 
      Price $3.75 
      Holiness to the Lord

      Joseph Smith’s name appears in the Bible. 

      facing page 24: Joseph Smith Jr. and Oliver Cowd[e]ry Book 
      Esther: Joseph Smith Jr 
      page 683: Joseph Smith Jr 
      facing page 657: Joseph Smith Jr

      This Bible was purchased by Oliver Cowdery on 8 October 1829 since Joseph Smith, Jr. was not at Palmyra at the time but arrived at his home in Harmony, Pennsylvania on 4 October 1829. Grandin published the Book of Mormon in 1830. It was used for Joseph Smith’s correction of the Bible as markings were made corresponding to his manuscript revisions. Joseph Smith did not know Hebrew or Greek during the time he made the majority of the corrections to the Bible. 
      At first the full text was written out (for part of Genesis, all of Matthew, Mark and Luke) and then notations. Markings were made in the printed Bible that correspond to the short manuscript notations. Italic words that are crossed out in the Bible represent changes or deletions to be made. 
      Original manuscripts of Bible corrections in RLDS archives.

      “Family Record” under “Marriages” has: 
      Joseph Smith Junr Emma Hale was married Jan 18 1827 Bainbridge, Chenango County State of New York

      “The Phinney’s [Henry and Elihu] imported all sorts of books from New York and Philadelphia and distributed them with their own publications through towns and villages from large wagons with moveable tops and counters, even providing a canal boat book store on the Erie Canal”
      (Margaret T. Hills, ed., The English Bible in America: A Bibliography of Editions of the Bible & the New Testament Published in America 1777 – 1957 [New York: American Bible Society and The New York Public Library, 1961], 69).

      (source http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/books.htm )

      • Megan Reply

        That’s so cool! Thank you for chasing that down.

        Now clearly this isn’t the volume that JS was raised with and that almost certainly was the one the BoM Isaiah quotations are from. I wonder which version that was? 

        I would think that the Smith family would have one of the ‘modern’ correct Bibles which were mostly based on the 1769 Oxford edition (need a Biblical historian here – how common were the Cambridge 1760 and ’62 editions, particularly in the Americas and would they have been used to produce New World versions?) so it would be very similar. 

        At any rate, it seems that JS would have been quite familiar with the apocrypha which is no longer included in the Authorized KJV. I wonder if anyone’s done any work on the influence of the apocrypha on the BoM or, even more interesting, on the D&C or the PoGP which is where all the really meaty and unusual Mormon doctrines are found!

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          Great post. I remember reading the word NEPHI in the apocrypha a few years ago. It wasn’t used as a name but it was in there. The only place I’ve ever seen it outside the BoM.

          • Fred W. Anson

            @Megan and Richard
            Joseph Smith mentions the Apocrypha in D&C 91 (see http://www.ldsces.org/inst_manuals/dc-in/dc-in-091.htm ) and the Tanners allege that he plagiarized freely from it (see http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no89.htm ) .  

            The 1769 edition of the KJV that he used for the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Translation (“Bought October the 8th 1829 at Egbert B Grandins Book Store Palmyra Wayne County New York”) included the Apocrypha.  See my prior post to Megan (from yesterday) for the specifics on the Bible that Joseph Smith owned.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    I’m only a few minutes in & listening to #10: Secret Societies.

    I remember being in Seminary and the teacher talking excitedly about the “characteristics” of a secret society.  He kept mentioning signs and tokens and defined them as handshakes and passwords.  Even then I remember thinking, “Uh…. isn’t that EXACTLY what goes on in the temple?”

    Has anyone else ever wondered about that?

    • brandt Reply

      I’ve always heard the Mormon Neo-Cons comparing the Gadianton Robbers to the Taliban, and it’s usually with the caveat of the Constitution hanging by a string and the end of days.  That group is a fun group to try to talk to….

    • Chuck Borough Reply

      All secret societies hate all other secret societies. Each thinks it is the only acceptable one.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    I heard that Shakespeare was always doing the “wristwatch” prank to his friends. haha.

  7. Hermes Reply

    I could not help thinking that number 10 (?) (secret societies) was a bit of a stretch.  While the mention of them is certainly fitting for Joseph Smith’s time (with all the ferment over Masonry), there actually is a rather long Old World tradition of fearing the politico-religious cabal (the old Greek hetaireiai, which the emperor Trajan wrote to Pliny to suppress in the second century, and which lives on in the modern Italian mafias).  Maybe the New World has no rich tradition of cloak-and-dagger politics in precisely the style imagined by the authors of the Book of Mormon, but the tradition in that Book does at least look like some genuinely old stuff (which would cause Dan Peterson to say something about it “feeling old”).  This in no way vindicates the Book of Mormon as a genuine record of the ancient Americas (of course).  It just problematizes an overly flat picture of the history of the secret society in the West.

    Great podcast, as usual.  I really liked the discussion of ancient warfare.  I confess in my more believing days I too used to scratch my head a bit over the Jaredites’ story.  They fought down to the last two guys?  All the women and children fought, and all were killed?  It is interesting that the most thoughtful apologists today don’t even give that scenario the benefit of a refutation.  They just assume there were Jaredite survivors, and point out (correctly) that a scenario in which the entire nation kills itself down to the last man is ridiculous (in antiquity as in modernity: at some point, losers flee and winners feel compassion; few soldiers are willing to kill babies on purpose, which is how these killings would have to take place in an era before bombs and artillery).   

  8. Shane Anderson Reply

    Could the “wine” in the BOM have been Pulque, a fermented wine from the maguey plant?  According to Cortez (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1520cortes.asp), this plant was fermented pre-Columbus and according to wikipedia, IT may have been used as far back as 200ACE. Also, according to The International Bee Research Association there are two bee species, Melipona beecheii and M. yucatanica, which are native to the Americas and used by the Mayans for honey and honey wine. The problem of course is that the BOM claims that the Nephites and Jeradites brought over their own bees. These species are not known in the old world but maybe they died off trying to complete with the natives.

  9. Kiskilili Reply

    Love your podcast! Two non-substabtive points:

    1. 600 BCE is the Iron Age, not the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age ended about 1200.
    2. “Ye” is the plural/formal nominative, where “you” is the plural/formal oblique case. “Thou” and “thee” are the singular/intimate forms, nominative and oblique, respectively. The difference between “ye” and “you” is not formality, but case; the KJV is very consistent on this.

    • Jeremy Reply

      Kiskilili, 
      Depending on which area of the world you are looking at, the Bronze age doesn’t end at 1200 BC. For Example, in Europe, it lasted well into 600-500 BC. While in India, it ended around 1600 BC. But, yeah, they could possibly have been at the end of the Bronze Age or just entering into the proto-historic Iron Age.

      • Kiskilili Reply

        Lehi’s family certainly could have lived at the threshold of the Iron Age, especially if they were Beaker People in the British Isles. In Jerusalem in 600 BCE? Not likely.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Dang it, I was logging in to make this exact comment about pronouns. Gotta say, John, from one linguistics major to another, Kiskilili is right on and you got it a bit wrong in the podcast. KJV does NOT have formal and informal versions of “you.” Its usage of first person pronouns is strictly and rigorously grammatical. “You” is for plural objects, “Ye” is for plural subjects, “Thee” is for singular objects, and “Thou” is for singular subjects, and the KJV does use these extremely consistently, according to the Greek or Hebrew number and case of the sources. (The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, on the other hands, get’s this wrong ALL THE TIME, using ye’s for singular subjects, etc. Joseph didn’t seem have a firm grasp on the differences between them.)

    • brandt Reply

      Zilpha, I just realized that when I read this comment.  He went off about horses and railroad tracks, and never gave us the hippopotami reference!

    • Elder Vader Reply

      I’ve been wondering what the hippo reference was all about.  Now I’m wondering if it was a big inside joke.  

      • brandt Reply

        Vader, if it’s an inside joke, then John (and perhaps Zilpha) are the only ones in on the joke.  I’m just as confused as you as far as what the hippo reference John made was all about.

  10. Kiskilili Reply

    The BoM fell apart for me theologically before it even fell apart historically. It has what to my mind is a totally inadequate theodicy that collapses this life into the eternities and insists punishments and rewards are meted out here and now, perhaps especially in God’s promised land where inhabitants are virtually in his presence. I have serious difficulty accepting that.

  11. Dan Reply

    I am a little disappointed that one my favorite anachronisms didn’t make the list– the  Jaredite “windows”  on the barges not being constructed in fear that they would be “dashed to pieces”! C’mon 🙂
    Just to summarize the apologists response…A” horse” not a really a horse, a “chariot” is not really a chariot, steel is not steel, barley is not barley, windows are not windows, coins are not coins, elephants are not elephants, wine is not wine, swine is not swine, cows are not cows, million soldiers are not million soldiers, hill cumorah is not THE NY hill cumorah, gold plates are not gold, and on and on and on. Great discussion. Tough to swallow as an active member…

    • Anonymous Reply

      “A horse not a really a horse, a “chariot” is not really a chariot,
      steel is not steel, barley is not barley, windows are not windows,”…..

      Now for the truth:

      A horse -were all eaten by indians after fighting several vicious wars amongst themselves; luckily the spanish came over and resupplied them.
      Chariot -what the eaten horses pulled, but abandoned after they eat the horses.
      Steel -any mixure of bog ore or hematite with copper or bauxite, grass and a bit of salt and wala…a shinin blade but one that only lasts 6 months before rusting away.
      Barley -also extint after the famine caused by the many lamanite wars;
      Coins -piece of that hematite unmixed and used as coins. etc etc etc…

      “Tough to swallow as an active member…”

      not at all, one can find the truth if one wishes to. However it is interesting to see how those who were once members start to doubt everything that could have a reasonable explanation.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        Once again, what are your sources for all these interesting “facts” that are stated so emphatically even though they utterly contradicts the historical and scientific body of evidence? 

        Again, an uncited “fact” is nothing more than an opinion supported by nothing but the speaker’s empty words. 

      • Dan Reply

        Darkmatter…I actually admire that you atleast still maintain a literal view that these things actually existed as they were written.  That differs from most mormon scholars and apologists who mostly maintain that these things are not so literal as worded in the BOM. 

        I don’t know that your responses are perfectly “reasonable explanations” as you said.  I think the BOM is a profound and powerful book, but its just difficult to claim with conviction that it is truly historical, but I don’t rule out the possibility. 

      • Aaron L Reply

        If the horses were there, there would be evidence for them even if they were eaten.
        If the chariots were there, there would be evidence for those too even if they were eventually destroyed.  
        Same with the barley and coins, and same with the steel.  Evidence of steel making would be there if it happened, just like it was there for the Haya.  Things like that don’t just disappear to the point of being undetectable very often.  Maybe once in a while, but not to the scale of what would have to be necessary over and over and over again for dozens of unrelated things for the Book of Mormon to be historical.  

        It is the combination of the presence of the anachronisms with the cold, hard facts that we haven’t found any physical evidence of them that sells me.  

        • Anonymous Reply


          You think that the evidence for barley is gone because they ate it all and/or couldn’t grow it anymore? Seriously?”

          Placed in the correct context, yes. the BoM people went through a lot even before the lamanite’s wars and conflicts. If you follow the story, you have to also factor in the so called changes that happend with Christ’s visits to america, ie several cities completely destroyed.

          Plus we still don’t really know if it was mesoamerica or the shores of Ecuador or somewhere else where the nephites landed and mostly lived. They could’ve been in cities now under the gulf of mexico; we just don’t know where it was. So finding evidence is even more difficult since we don’t know where to start digging yet. Plus, like I said before, the nephites where a relatively smallish group and they were into steel production. they weren’t a nation the size of Brazil!

          • Aaron L

            I guess anything is possible.  I tend to think more from a probabilities standpoint.  The likelihood of evidence being destroyed to the extent necessary for the Book of Mormon to be true is near impossible in terms of probabilities.  
            By the way, if there was some geological event that caused civilizations to be swallowed up into the Gulf of Mexico only 2000 years ago, we’d probably have evidence of that too.  2000 years is only a snap of the fingers in geologic time.  

            I know some apologists have tried to weasel out of this, but Joseph and many other church leaders have stated explicitly where Cumorah was.  There are many, many things from that specific battle that mysteriously haven’t been found yet even though we do know exactly where to dig.  

          • Anonymous

            If they were costal cities, maybe , maybe not. Mud does a lot of damage over time. Look at Japans recent sunami, we were all amazed at those underwater pictures of fridges and lounges swept into the sea by the sumani but surely this wasn’t the first time Japan suffered a sumani; but were is the evidence of the previous cities swept into the sea.

            I’m not saying that it was the case in the BoM, just castle doubts and options.
             
            With the hill Cumorah, yes, definitely we do know where it is. There was a battle there but it was a surface one, no dead were burried and after about 100 years even the dead in graves don’t last. The recent dig of WW1 graves shows just  how difficult it is to find remains even when only less that a 100 years have past. But in Cumorah’s case you have some 1600 years of history and local tribes going over that surface and just picing up any weapons left behind. So I don’t see it odd at all that weapons or remains have been found in Cumorah.

            Plus they are a people speaking from the dust, and there is very little dust left now….

      • Anonymous Reply

        “A horse -were all eaten by indians after fighting several vicious wars
        amongst themselves; luckily the spanish came over and resupplied them.”

        BAHAHAHAHAHA!  That is seriously the best apologetic response I’ve ever heard.

        • Anonymous Reply

          hahaha,

          you’ve never heard of japanese Basashi?

          And what is left over after one eats a horse during a famine? bones for other wild animals? or his DNA signiture on the grass? Seriously I wonder how much of the poor horsey is left over.

          • Fred W. Anson

            DarkMatter, obviously you’ve never been on a farm and seen an animal that predators have taken down.  They don’t eat the bones mate! 

            Neither do the scavengers. 

            If you doubt me may I suggest that you visit the George C. Page museum the next time that you’re in L.A. (greatest city in the entire frakin’ world I might add!). 

          • Anonymous

            Actually, I’d trust wikipedia more with this one: “The most important non-insect animals that are typically involved in the process include larger scavengers, such as: coyotes, dogs, wolves, foxes, rats, crows and vultures. Some of these scavengers also remove and scatter bones, which they ingest at a later time.”

            And how long would bones last on the surface if the nephite colonies were somewhere around northern venezuela or colombia? maybe 10 years? before nothing is left at all.

            I think you are making things up by now and you probably have never being on a farm either.

            I’m worried though that you keep calling me ‘mate’? We just aint mates; your insults just get in the way

            LA? nah, too much crime and polution

          • Richard of Norway

            Yeah, of course you trust what ever you interpret to agree with you.

            When it says, “remove and scatter” it refers to *some* of the bones to *some* of the animals. Not EVER SINGLE HORSE. Forgive us for getting so frustrated with you but your ignorance on this and so many other topics is beyond the pale. I wish you wouldn’t pretend to know more than you do about all topics under the sun. It’s not helping your case.

          • Anonymous

            Idoes say ‘some’ however it wasn’t about that; it was in response to freddy who claimed that absolutely no animals would eat bones when clearly predators do.

            Again, you either misread or deliberately changed the subject to justify your insults.

          • Richard of Norway

            No. Unless you believe that ALL horse bones in the Americas could or would have been devoured and erased from existence without a trace, your argument is meaningless.

          • Anonymous

            I believe ALL horses were either eaten during famines, probably caused by war not weather although a few sumani’s could have occured too, and the bones where either used by indians for tools or weapons or were eaten by some predators or just decayed to dust level when left on the surface.

            Is that clear enough for you? does it show you what I think could have happened with the horses they found when they landed in 600 something BC. By the way these horses were probably small and not ideal for ridding but could be used for working, not sure, just a prossibility.

          • Richard of Norway

            It’s both clear and crazy as hell. There is no rational reason to believe that is even possible, let alone plausible. You are grasping for straws. Keep on believing what you like if it makes you happy. But the rest of the world will roll their eyes along with me.

            I am curious what Mike Tannehill or Brandt might have to say about the topics you fail to provide convincing explanations for. Kudos for making us miss Mike and consider him a voice of reason. That’s quite an accomplishment.

          • Anonymous

            Well….can’t do much more for you!….Its not only a plusible explanation but highly probably one too.

            Mike was the voice of reason in these podcast but what did you guys do to him? …

            I’d said the problem is with you guys who refuse to accept anything that could show some sense in that BoM story. Spirit of apostasy come to mind but…..I guess its worthless telling you that too.

          • Fred W. Anson

            YOU WROTE
            “Mike was the voice of reason in these podcast but what did you guys do to him?”

            MY RESPONSE
            ROFLMAO!  

            I know that I shouldn’t laugh after all when I was my Mind Control Cult I was just as nuts as these guys are.  

            But still . . . 
            ROFLOL!

            Absolutely hilarious. 

            Yes, I do believe that we’ve found someone even crazier than our beloved Mike Tannehill!

          • Fred W. Anson

            DarkMatter, I that think you need to reread Richard’s post.  You COMPLETELY missed his point because you ran through your built-in confirmation bias filter and only heard what you wanted to hear.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Wow! I want to thank you for that post DarkMatter!  That’s one of the best, most blatant examples of confirmation bias that I’ve ever seen!

            You completely ignored the fact that we know so much about prehistoric American horses because of all “dem bones” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_horse#History_of_research ) yet because there are NO such bones to support the claims of The Book of Mormon suddenly the ONLY evidence that matters is this uncited reference (except it’s somewhere in, who knows where, Wikipedia) which you magically pulled out of your . . . . hat: 

            “”The most important non-insect animals that are typically involved in the process include larger scavengers, such as: coyotes, dogs, wolves, foxes, rats, crows and vultures. Some of these scavengers also remove and scatter bones, which they ingest at a later time.”
            So riddle me this DarkMatter, why is it that ONLY the bones during the Book of Mormon period  suddenly, in-explicitly,  dare I say “magically” disappeared?  Wow, that’s amazing!!!!

            Yet somehow before and after the Book of Mormon period we have a rich fossil record to work with.  Wow, that’s DOUBLE amazing!!! Wow! 

            P.S.
            And your stereotype of L.A. just demonstrates how small minded, prejudiced, and ignorant you really are . . .  Matty (who ain’t my) mate.

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          Yep, there’s nothing an Indian loves quite as much as good barbecued horse flesh!  Just ask any Indian. 

          Maybe after you get out the hospital from the beating that resulted from your insult, you’ll understand how wrong this assertion is. 

          • Anonymous

            Famine, due to wars, can lead people to eat anything!

            We have examples of it happening in 2001 but it is worth showing you the video of the mob killing a horse? If you gave me one good reason I’ll show it to you -or you can google it yourself off course.

            Your argument is lacking.

          • Richard of Norway

            Holy smokes, you’re trying to convince us that the Lamanites were so starving they devoured carcasses, including bones, of EVERY SINGLE HORSE IN EXISTENCE in the Americas and left no trace? Not one? Talk about delusional…

          • Anonymous

            In a famine, during wars, plausible explanation given that we weren’t there nor have they left any text to read up on.

            “Every single horse…””  well they did have 1600 odd years of wars and conflicts. Plenty of time to get through them horses……!!!

  12. Jeremy Reply

    The nail in the coffin for me was the Cureloms and Cumoms, in conjunction with the anachronisms.
    I’ve heard from many many members of the church, that Joseph Smith was simply using words that he knew in place of a Nephite word that he didn’t know. So, according to them, it wasn’t a horse, but that was the closest word Joseph could think of. Well, if Joseph can see animals and could give them names that WE don’t have, why couldn’t he have done the same thing for whatever it was that was pulling the chariots? If it was a tapir, Joseph could have written tapir, and described it a little, just like he did with the cureloms and cumoms. If it wasn’t really steel, and the peep stone was showing the words “tungsten titanium alloy”, he could have said that, not knowing what the heck that was, just the same way that he didn’t know what a curelom was but used it anyway.
    I even had a conversation with a missionary that tried telling me that the Nephite word for animal pulling the chariot was  literally “h-o-r-s-e”, so that’s the word Joseph used. LOL

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Behold ye the mighty tapir – o ye of little faith! 
      http://www.tapirs.org/img/about-tapirs-files/tapir-combo-4-species_sm.jpg
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-xJgOOwAvU

      II Nephi 15
      26 And he will lift up an aensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the cend of the earth; and behold, they shall come with speed swiftly; none shall be weary nor stumble among them.

       27 None shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken;

       28 Whose arrows shall be sharp, and all their bows bent, and their tapir’s hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind, their roaring like a lion.

       29 They shall roar like young lions; yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry away safe, and none shall deliver.

       30 And in that aday they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea; and if they look unto the land, behold, darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.

      So run, run ye, in terror of these horrid and terrifying pets . . . er, I mean . . . beasts.  Flee ye their mighty dolly carts . . . er, I mean . . . chariots lest they crush thy toes . . . I mean, thy frame under their mighty toes . . . that is, hooves.  

      Take flight lest they flare their snouts at thee! 
      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tCcjI6S-GTw/ScxcbasxWCI/AAAAAAAAAw8/cnkEc-BMfwI/s400/AROUSED+TAPIR.jpg

      • Jeremy Reply

        Well, since the verses you quotes came from Isaiah, which was one of the anachronisms mentioned, I’ll do a few better….

        Alma 18:9

        9 And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy TAPIR. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his TAPIR and DOLLY CARTS, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had
        been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of
        Lamoni, who was king over all the land.

        Alma 18:12

        12 And it came to pass that when Ammon had made ready the TAPIR and the DOLLY CARTS for the king and his servants, he went in unto the
        king, and he saw that the countenance of the king was changed; therefore
        he was about to return out of his presence.

        Alma 20:6

        6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his TAPIR and his DOLLY CARTS.

        Oooor… this would have worked too…

        1 Nephi 18:25

        25 And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we
        journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of
        every kind, both the CURRAN and the CUMAN, and the CULO and the TAPIR,
        and the GOTEN and the wild GOTEN, and all manner of wild animals, which
        were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of
        gold, and of silver, and of copper.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        Since most Missionaries are between 19-22 just out of puberty, without much real world experience, and with heavy exposure to teen culture I’m going to guess that the answer to that question would have been “r-o-s-e” as in “Axl Rose” 
        (why’s everyone groaning and saying “oh brother!”? This stuff is golden! Golden!) 

        😉

  13. Will D Reply

    I like how you just got tired at the end and was like, alright it’s two hours.  Like two minutes later the podcast ends lol.  🙂

  14. Anonymous Reply

    I know that there are numerous, undeniable anachronisms in the BoM, and that even one demonstrable example of an anachronism would be fatal to the credibility of any claimed historical account that contains one.  I also agree that there is little doubt that virtually all of the examples discussed are valid examples of anachronisms, and thus utterly destroy the credibility of the BoM.  However, I don’t think that number 10 in this podcast is necessarily a valid example.  I see no reason why secret and corrupt societies and combinations could not independently arise in virtually any civilization.

    • Megan Reply

      I agree that it’s one of the weaker ones, but the point isn’t whether or not there were (or could be) secret societies, but whether the social/political concern over such societies is anachronistic for a New World culture of that time. In other words, in the records we have, does an obsession with and fear of secret societies play such a significant role that it would become an important part of a religious text?

      Personally, I don’t think we have enough information to call things one way or another.

  15. erico Reply

    Great podcast.  My favorite anachronisms in the BofM are King Benjamin’s reference to Jesus sweating blood from every pore which is only referenced once in the Bible found in the Book of Luke, later proven to be an interpolation added by an imaginative scribe intent on proving that Jesus was a corporeal being and not a phantasm.  Bart Ehrman points out that the earliest copies of the Book of Luke do not contain any reference to Jesus sweating blood and that the interpolation breaks up the original author’s chiasmus.  Also, the last line of the Lord’s prayer (which also shows up in 3rd Nephi) does not appear in the earliest Biblical source material.

    The Book of Mormon portraying events that are even close to historically accurate is laughable.  On the spiritual side, there are a few nuggets that I enjoy but most of the major themes are somewhat juvenile in their approach to morality.  The book had a powerful effect on me as a teenager, but as an adult living in a complex, modern world, I find it lacking.

  16. Hermes Reply

    I loved the references to anachronistic concepts, as well.  The Book of Mormon definitely assumes the Nicene Creed (see the discussion of the Trinity in Mosiah 15), a useful trick to keep up your sleeve if you want to get out of an interminable argument with evangelical Christians.

  17. Elder Vader Reply

    A few quick comments:

    About halfway through this podcast I said to myself:  “I think Steel is going to be # 1”  Hooray for me.

    This podcast reminded me a lot of the Guns Germs and Steel podcast. 

    I am very curious about the hippopotamus example.  

    I listened to the Mormon Stories podcast with Daniel Peterson.  If the material in that podcast were combined with the material in this podcast we just might have a solution to the energy crisis. 

    Also thinking of Daniel Peterson.  It kind of makes me sad, you know, just kind of a waste of a pretty smart guy.  Defending the undefendable.

    I also wish the apologists would just shut up, and hand the conversation over to the Prophets.  Time for the prophets, seers, and revelators to do their job for a change. 

  18. snowball Reply

    Interesting podcast.  Just a note.  World War II fighter jets, though fraught with problems, are not an example of an anachronism.   The Messerschmitt Me 262 was first flown in 1941, but brought into combat too late to save Hitler’s Germany.   I remembered seeing one at the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia.   If only it were that easy for the FAIR guys to explain steel weaponry in the Book of Mormon–especially that steel bow.  BYU’s engineering students struggled to make one of those work with modern machining at their disposal.

    http://www.warbirdalley.com/me262.htm 

    • Anonymous Reply

      Steel: note that steel as a mixture of iron and something else has been around since ancient times,but we only know this due to drawings on walls and some texts since that quality steel only lasted a few years. However stainless steel -alloy with carbon- is the modern invention that last. The problem is that 1800’s american indians had lost that technology and prefered just stones tied to wood -which is consistant with the description of the BoM of what those people had become when they broke away from the nephites or from the Lord.

      Re BYU students: they need to do stress analysis again! Any steel, ie any type of iron alloy, will work as long as the diameters of the ends to the centre is 2:1 which is enough to allow for a bend in the bow. But it will be rather brittle and not last too long. Wood then is a better option.

      • FWAnson Reply

        Evidence? Uncited “evidence” is nothing more than an opinion.

        Let’s see your sources DM.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Perhaps it is just barely possible (though unlikely) that all the steel artifacts made by pre-Columbian civilizations would have rusted away with any detectable trace, but despite the apologetics of Jeff Lindsay, Hugh Nibley and others, I think it is even less likely that no easily identifiable evidence of steel making on the scale implied in the BoM would have been found by now if it were really true.  But even if unmistakable evidence were found that pre-Columbian American civilizations knew more about metallurgy than almost all archaeologists now believe possible (which would be an exciting find indeed), there is still more than enough justification to doubt the historicity of the BoM.

        • Anonymous Reply

          The scale implied in the BoM is actually rather small. Only the nephites engaged in any steel production. So I don’t think it’s that odd that nothing has been found yet. We still haven’t found where they landed or lived so it’s a work in progress.

          Also the pre-Columbian civilizations doesn’t imply BoM civilazations. The BoM people were a rather smallish group, its was the laminites who scattered all over the continent remember, they mixed their blood with any other group they came across, and they lived under constant wars from about 300AD right up to the spaniards arrival, ie just over a 1000 years , more than enough time to radically change society and destroy any evidance of that smallish group of people called Nephites. Compared to europe, the lamanites where a vicious and wild bunch, doing a lot of barbaric things, even during the 1800’s, like shaving off the soles of their wives feet so they wouldn’t run off etc etc.

          • Richard of Norway

            You contradict your own statement from one paragraph to the next. Was the scale “actually rather small” in the BoM or were the Lamanites “scattered all over the continent”?

            The Lamanites were the primary users of the swords and other weapons, as is illustrated by the Anti-Nephi-Lehites when they convert and bury their weapons as part of their conversion.

          • Anonymous

            Nephites (steel makers) rather small.

            Lamanites (horses/basashi eaters) rather large “scattered all over the continent” in constant wars that caused famines, destructions etc right up to Cortez’s arrival.

            Hope that clears it up for you!

            Lamanites used all sorts of weapons but didn’t have a stable culture to produce steel weapons

          • Richard of Norway

            Where is your source for this? That is not what the Book of Mormon states. Are you saying all the weapons used by the Lamanites were made by the Nephites? Either way, there had to be a LOT of weapons made (regardless of which “tribe” made them) and some evidence would have remained. Or are you smoking something really special and not sharing?

  19. Anonymous Reply

    I remember as a kid who had never read the BoM having a feeling that the stories are a little far fetched. That was without even thinking about the logistics of such tales. 

    I grew up in Auckland New Zealand, a city of one million, and I knew what it took to get around there on Motorways and trains. That was also before mobile phones. Many appointments just never happened because people weren’t at home to answer phones.

    Now take it back in time to when there was no long distance communication at all, and even if there were chariots, the movement of huge numbers of people in a coordinated fashion, the feed for humans and horses (tapirs?), and the rest of it is ludicrous. Ever left a concert of 60,000 people? 

    The problem with those who believe the BoM is a true account of reality is that they want it to be so more than they want the truth. You can explain anything away if you include the supernatural. If you don’t get visited by the Easter Bunny it’s because you don’t have enough faith. Who is going to openly admit they have never been left Easter eggs?

      • Anonymous Reply

        Yes, especially when the debate descends into testimony chanting. They have heard what you say, and they can’t argue against it, yet they choose to ignore all of the logic, and their own instincts (the same ones I had as a boy) and resort to a learned response which they have been taught to use whenever they feel uncomfortable about facts and common sense.

        It would be annoying if it were just any member, but when I see my parents – the people I trusted the most – ignoring logic and turning off their brains, I feel terrible for them. The church is still coming between us. There are still things I want to talk to them about but I can’t because my folks have been trained to avoid such conversations. They are afraid of facts. They love the lies because they reinforce what they have come to believe. The church has turned my parents, the people I depended on for moral guidance, into people who will lie and who hate truth. Satan couldn’t have done a better job.

  20. Anonymous Reply

    Great podcast guys!!! I especially liked your discussion of the anachronistic Christian elements within the Book of Mormon. I have always enjoyed the extensive references in the Book of Mormon to New Testament passages by Nephite prophets long before the New Testament was ever written.

  21. Anonymous Reply

    Great podcast guys. I personally have always liked the extensive paraphrasing of New Testament prophets by Nephite prophets long before the New Testament was ever written.

  22. Megan Reply

    One more pedantry assault – do I remember someone saying zebras wouldn’t pull chariots? Well, not chariots, but how about carriages on a London street?

    http://www.urban75.org/brixton/history/zebra-taxi-cab.html

    Mind you, as far as I recall it was only a couple of very wealthy people doing it (for the dramatic effect) and it wasn’t ever terribly successful as zebras are not really tame animals and are quite bad tempered!

  23. Vlentudia Reply

    Great podcast, folks.

    I did want to comment on one of the exchanges that took place near the end, where Brandt talked about the difficulties of anachronisms in the book of Mormon versus those in the Bible. To me, the Bible and Book of Mormon are not comparable in this regard, simply because no one questions the ancient origin of the Bible. One can argue whether or not the Bible is inspired, but everyone, from the most devout fundamentalist of the most hardened atheist, agrees that the Bible was written by a variety of ancient authors. Thus, a single (or even many) anachronisms do not really say anything about the Bible as a whole. On the other hand, if anachronisms point to the book of Mormon being of 19th century origin, they serve to underscore a lot of other evidence that points to the same thing. As to the question of “is all of this important to salvation”, one might be able to say that about the Bible, because as John indicated, Christianity includes a range of opinions about the literalness and origins of the Bible. On the other hand, to accept the idea of the “restoration” one has traditionally needed to accept the traditional, rigid Book of Mormon origin story. Whether or not that will continue to be necessary remains to be seen.

    • Megan Reply

      Very good point. Biblical anachronisms sometimes disprove particular beliefs about authorship or composition dates, but do not disprove the overall antiquity of the book. There is not a consistency of anachronisms that show the entire thing was composed at a single time, and the anachronisms actually in many cases can be used to demonstrate the antiquity by pinning down composition to a particular time frame.

      So while things like vocabulary, political ideas, historic references etc might show that, for example, one of the Gospels wasn’t actually written during the life of Jesus, they do show that it was most likely composed within the first century of CE.

      In the BoM the anachronisms are all consistent with a single time frame for a single author – none of them show authorship later than JS, but none of them establish a timeframe earlier than he either.

      The Bible – collection of texts with genuinely ancient provenance spanning hundreds of years and having corroborative physical evidence of the existence not only of (most) of the people and (many) of the places and events but of the existence of the book itself over a great deal of that time (ie manuscript fragments, quotations on other media etc demonstrate that the writing and beliefs have been around for a considerable span of time and have, as is expected, changed and grown over that time frame)

      The BoM – single text without provenance and with no corroborative physical evidence of the ancient claims for peoples, places and events AND without any evidence of the existence of such a text prior to its production in print.

      Another note – the Bible survived because there was not one copy but many, many, many. The claim that the BoM survived as a single document despite the wars and natural disasters that are claimed during its history is, in my opinion, extremely unlikely.

      • mono Reply

        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I am reminded of the Conference talk by Jeff Holland, “no-one has proven the BOM false!” Whoa, no-one has proven it true. The burden is on the one making the claim. The anachronisms and other problems simply point out the obvious, it has not been proven true. And saying you know it is true is not evidence. Sorry.

        Leif Erickson spent a couple of years in the Americas, we know because we have been able to dig up evidence of his being here and even traced his travels up into Canada.

        Not a shred of graffiti, piece of a clay pot, or anything else has ever been found with any link to Hebrew or Egyptian (no matter how reformed). 

        The characters JS said where replicas of the characters on the plates that he took to Prof. Anthon, even as a kid I thought they looked really stupid and cheesy. Why? Because they were really stupid and cheesy. That’s what happens when you make stuff up and claim it to be thousands of years old.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Though it seems extremely unlikely that characters that Martin Harris took to Prof. Anthon were replicas of characters copied from the gold plates JS claimed to have translated the BoM from, they were probably not merely invented by JS.  It seems more likely that they may have been copied from a document known as the Detroit Manuscript.  See this: http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/2000s/2001RBSt.htm. 

          This manuscript was discovered by a Colonel Abraham Edwards in March of 1823 under the site of one of his buildings in Detroit, and aroused quite a bit of notoriety at the time.  Few people at the time could decipher the script in this manuscript, but most of the characters in the Anthon Manuscript were very similar or identical to characters found in the Detroit Manuscript.  

          The significance of this is that Colonel Edwards was a close friend and business associate of Stephen Mack, Joseph Smith’s uncle, and the most beloved brother of Joseph’s Mother, Lucy Mack Smith.  Among the scholars who were the first to have a chance to examine this manuscript were Doctor Anthon and Doctor Mitchill (or Mitchell), who were the very scholars to whom Martin Harris showed the Anthon Manuscript

          Though these scholars were very knowledgeable about ancient Hebrew and other Middle Eastern scripts, these characters were unfamiliar to them, though they bore a resemblance to ancient Phoenician.  It has been since confirmed that these characters were Tyronean shorthand, a form of Latin shorthand commonly used by Catholic priests until just before the 1700s or so–especially to make annotations in the margins of Latin Bibles and other Latin religious texts.

          The Detroit Manuscript turned out to be a religious text written in this Tyronean shorthand expounding on certain Catholic doctrines, and was probably left behind by Jesuit priests who came down to what is now the Detroit area from Canada, in the early days of exploration of North America, to proselyte among the local aborigines.

  24. JT Reply

    Has anyone ever given thought to what IS NOT in the Book of Mormon that might be expected?

    Recently after reading the Book of Mormon for the first time in a long time, I noticed a few things … so …  I wrote a poem about it. 

    It’s Not in the Book

    by JT

    No fishes for eating,
    No tables for seating,
    No teachers or schools,
    No rulers for beating.

    No butchers, no bakers,
    But some candles for their makers, 
    And not a one doctor,
    But too many lawyers!

    No barns for the flocks,
    Of chickens (but no ducks).
    No mention of birds!
    And No fences for herds.

    There must have been mines, 
    For the senuns of silver,
    (Which is an a-senine way,
    Of paying for a measure.)

    And speaking of money,
    If that’s the conception,
    Why no beans of cocoa,
    It wasn’t just confection!

    You’d think these would be there,
    In times of great prospers,
    Which never lasted long,
    With such bad stirrer uppers.

    Which is a matter of course,
    For a god of great mercy,
    Who seemed to enjoy,
    Being angry and cursey

    The End

    P.S.  Apologists comments welcome

    • Megan Reply

      Clever!

      And right on point – why were culemoms mentioned but not llamas? Why barley but not, say, tomatoes? Any talk of squashes? Of chocolate? Of any New World specific species that are known (through archaeological work) to have been vital to the diet and economy of new world people?

  25. KC Reply

    The historicity of the book of mormon fell apart with reading the book Guns, Germs, and Steel.  See previous mormon expression podcast on this, read the book, or watch the National Geographic documentary on Netflix called Guns, Germs, and Steel. It says nothing about religion or the book of mormon but shows that the people, culture, things, events portrayed in the book of mormon could never have occurred in the given timeframe in Mesoamerica.

    However, even though the book is not historically sound, I still think it’s valuable and can have a profound effect upon people lives. As John said that’s another discussion.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      It’s true that “Guns, Germs, and Steel” certainly erodes the credibility of the Book of Mormon. However, I think the book that’s even more devastating to the Book of Mormon’s claims of historicity is “1491” by Charles Mann. The archaeological evidence** that he presents in that book supports the following timeline:

      25000-35000 B.C. The Americas
      Time of paleo-Indian migration to Americas from Siberia, according to genetic evidence. 
      Groups likely traveled across the Pacific in boats. 
      (Poster’s Note: Maritime groups tended to stay within the sight line of the Pan-Asian-and-North American coastlines according to the DNA evidence)

      6000 Europe and Asia
      Wheat and barley grown from wild ancestors in Sumer.

      5000 The Americas
      In what many scientists regard as humankind’s first and greatest feat of genetic engineering, Indians in southern Mexico systematically breed maize (corn) from dissimilar ancestor species.

      4000 Europe and Asia
      First cities established in Sumer.

      3000 The Americas
      The Americas’ first urban complex, in coastal Peru, of at least 30 closely packed cities, each centered around large pyramid-like structures

      2650 Europe and Asia
      Great Pyramid at Giza

      32 B.C. The Americas
      First clear evidence of Olmec use of zero–an invention, widely described as the most important mathematical discovery ever made, which did not occur in Eurasia until about 600 A.D., in India (zero was not introduced to Europe until the 1200s and not widely used until the 1700s)

      800-840 A.D. The Americas
      Sudden collapse of most central Maya cities in the face of severe drought and lengthy war

      1000 Europe and Asia
      Vikings briefly establish first European settlements in North America.

      1250 A.D. The Americas
      Abrupt rise of Cahokia, near modern St. Louis, the largest city north of the Rio Grande. Population estimates vary from at least 15,000 to 100,000.

      1347-1351 Europe and Asia
      Black Death devastates Europe.

      1398 The Americas
      Birth of Tlacaélel, the brilliant Mexican strategist behind the Triple Alliance (also known as the Aztec empire), which within decades controls central Mexico, then the most densely settled place on Earth.

      1492 Europe and Asia
      The Encounter: Columbus sails from Europe to the Caribbean.

      1493 Europe and Asia
      Syphilis apparently brought to Europe by Columbus’s returning crew.

      1519 Europe and Asia
      Ferdinand Magellan departs from Spain on around-the-world voyage.

      1525-1533 The Americas
      Cortes driven from Tenochtitlán, capital of the Triple Alliance, and then gains victory as smallpox, a European disease never before seen in the Americas, kills at least one of three in the empire.

      The smallpox epidemic sweeps into Peru, killing as much as half the population of the Inka empire and opening the door to conquest by Spanish forces led by Pizarro.

      1617 The Americas
      Huge areas of New England nearly depopulated by epidemic brought by shipwrecked French sailors.

      1620 Europe and Asia
      English Pilgrims arrive at Patuxet, an Indian village emptied by disease, and survive on stored Indian food, renaming the village Plymouth.

      (source = http://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations-Americas-Before-Columbus/dp/1400032059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280510527&sr=8-1)

      ** And for the record, there is an ABUNDANCE of evidence it is NOT sparse or limited as LdS Apologists claim.

  26. Matt Braun Reply

    Great podcast. Except for leaving us hanging about the hippos. Talking to my father in law about having no horses his response is yes the had horses there is a picture of a bearded man with a horse on Chitiniza.  I said but there are no horse bones found during that time.  He is not willing to look at the evidence.
    I don’t think that anybody that looks at the evidence, even just the evidents in this podcast could still beleave the BoM is historical.  Yet we have apologists.  To me the BoM has so many things that disprove it the book is clearly not what it says it is. It has been proven a fraud.

  27. James Reply

    God could easily have removed the physical evidence of the Book of Mormon taking place. Now why would he do that? Maybe he wanted to try our faith, but then again, I think it’s difficult for men to comprehend God’s ways.

      • James Reply

        Since when did Occham’s Razor become an unbreakable law? My point is that it’s not impossible that the Book of Mormon is a true historical document as John claimed near the end of the podcast.

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          James based on your reasoning ANYTHING that one wants to believe can be said to “true”. After all, evidence is irrelevant so nothing can be proven or disproven right? 

          So why not Scientology?  

          After all, Xenu could easily have removed the physical evidence of the events in Dianetics taking place. Now why would he do that? Maybe he wanted to try our faith, but then again, I think it’s difficult for men to comprehend Xenu’s ways.
          (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenu )

          • James

            Obviously, just because someone wants to believe something doesn’t make it true. At the same time, I believe that God can work in many different ways (yes, maybe even Scientology) to bless the lives of his children. Do I believe in Xenu? No, because I’ve had personal experiences with God confirming to me that the LDS Church is where he wants me to be.

          • Fred W. Anson

            And a Scientologist would say EXACTLY the same thing about their church as would a Muslim, a Catholic, a Branch Davidian, a Moonie, a Baha’i, a Hindu, etc., etc., etc.  

            For example, please consider this post from a Muslim women on a Catholic discussion board:

            “For me, I believe that Muhammad was a prophet because of the Qur’an–because I read it, and in my own estimation after reading it, reflecting on it, and praying about it, I found in myself an unwavering belief that the Qur’an is without a doubt revealed by the Lord of the Worlds, by the Almighty God.”
                (see http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=c37f3f001ea2276b7b74b15a8cf740c6&p=4462691&postcount=3 )

            Sound familiar? Just substitute “Joseph Smith” where it says, “Muhammad” and “Book of Mormon” where it says “Qur’an” and you have the archetypical Mormon Testimony which simply mirrors the “stock” Muslim Testimony know as the Shahada: 

            “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammed is the servant and Messenger of Allah.”
            (the “Shahada”)

            So what’s your point?  

            Whose testimony trumps whose James?  Whose “burning in the bosom” wins? 

            In the end, I guess the real question is how important is it to you that the truth claims of Mormonism are in reality true?

          • James

            Point taken. I’d say that it’s really none of my business how another person experiences God, as long as they’re not threatening me or others as a result. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ because that works for me, but I would never presume to force my religious views on others (as I realize some Mormons may be inclined to do). When it comes to metaphysical claims I don’t see on what objective basis you can validate one view over another, and ultimately I can only speak for myself in this regard. Perhaps that makes me technically agnostic, but I assume there is a God based on my experience.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Well, I will acknowledge that your response is far more gracious, respectful and open minded than I was expecting given other exchanges with TBMs who have used the same arguments.  Thank you. 

            Never-the-less the historicity of a book claiming to be a literal historical record isn’t a metaphysical claim.  I would ask you to consider that.  Further, the evidence points to it being nothing more a work of 19th Century religious fiction.

            Now if Joseph Smith had come forth and said, “I’ve written the 19th Century equivalent of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’!  I hope you like it.” this discussion would be redundant.  Then the book would be judged on it’s theological content (which it also fails as pointed out in the podcast). 

            Therefore, this conversation cuts to the core of believing in and trusting Joseph Smith, Jr. not Jesus Christ so your faith affirmations in Christ are a non-sequitur.  What’s on trial here is Joseph Smith, Jr.’s claims regarding the Book of Mormon, which in turn put’s Joseph Smith, Jr.’s claim to be a true prophet of God on trial as well. 

            Simply put: How credible and trustworthy is Joseph Smith, Jr.? 

            Further, one can be a disciple of Jesus Christ, have faith in the Christian God, and have a testimony of both without the need for Joseph Smith, Jr. and The Book of Mormon – people had been doing so for thousands of years before Smith and have been doing so for hundreds of years since.  I know that this seems an odd concept to a lot of born-into-the-covenant Mormons – and a fair amount of converts as well.

            Simply Joseph Smith is not required to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, have faith in the Christian God and if he was, as the critics claim, a charlatan and a fraud, then Joseph Smith, Jr. could actually be an encumbrance to following Jesus Christ not an asset. 

            Just a few random and sundry thoughts to consider here. Again, thank you for your gracious, respectful and open minded response – I really appreciate it.

          • James

            You make a great point that religion often wanders outside of the metaphysical realm, and I think it’s clear that over the centuries, science has continually pushed religion out of areas in which it doesn’t belong. In regards to Joseph Smith, I think it’s clear that the church has changed significantly since his day, and the reason I am Mormon is because of what the church is here and now i.e. an imperfect religious community full of good people trying to do their best with what they’ve been given (as is the case with many people outside the church). 

            I still believe that God revealed some important things about His character through Joseph Smith, and the philosophy of mainstream Christianity (as I understand it) doesn’t satisfy me on a visceral level the same way as philosophies about God as based on the teachings of Joseph Smith. Perhaps this is because Mormonism is my philosophical heritage, but I think Mormonism has a rational edge on mainstream Christianity as a more modern religious tradition. I’m not completely wedded to the idea of Christ as the Redeemer, Atoner, and Savior as much as to the idea of Christ as the supreme example of how a person should be (metaphor or not). I also find the idea of man’s potential for Godhood infinitely more optimistic than conventional Christian concepts of man’s eternal destiny, not to mention Mormonism’s basically Universalist approach (that is, depending on which Mormon teachings you choose to emphasize).

          • Fred W. Anson

            Thank you for your response.

            However, the question for both Mormon and non-Mormon alike remains: How credible and trustworthy is Joseph Smith, Jr.?

            That’s the question that cuts to the core of the issues raised in this podcast.
            (And again, I’m trying desperately to stick to the core issue and not tangent too far afield from it)

            Personally, I think that the issues raised in this podcast are just another nail in Smith’s credibility coffin. There are others.

            For example, Eric has written about another Book of Mormon “nail” in his latest blog which you will find here: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/09/25/lamanite-dna-geography-controversy-part-1/ and, of course, there’s a plethora of similar evidence in past Mormon Expression podcasts and blogs.

            As for Smith’s contributions to mainstream Christianity, as stated in the podcast, since he plagiarized heavily from the Stone-Campbell Restorationist Movement ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_Movement ); Swedenborgianism (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg ); and seemingly just about every other thing that he encounters I don’t see what he brought to the party that wasn’t already there.

            And as for Mormonism being more “rational”, I would have to respectfully disagree with you. Personally I find very little in Mormonism that’s rational. However, again, I fear that going further than that will drift the thread so I will stop.

          • James

            Sorry, didn’t mean to bash on mainstream Christianity, but in terms of rationality, I don’t think it has any advantage over Mormonism. Granted individual Christian worldviews can vary dramatically, but if one is to take the Bible literally, they open themselves up to many of the same basic criticisms leveled at the Book of Mormon, not to mention the rational objections to the idea of a personal God. I find it ironic when Bible Christians apply a blatantly obvious double standard when evaluating Mormon truth claims, and similarly ironic when Mormons take shots at other religions in this way (as I guess I did earlier). I can appreciate Palmer’s desires to make Mormonism more Christ-centered, but it’s no secret that the majority of people who leave Mormonism migrate into the atheist/agnostic/humanist camps.

            It’s fair enough to claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized his religious ideas, but from a Mormon perspective, there’s no reason to think God didn’t inspire other men and then allow Joseph Smith to complete the full synthesis. But as I said before, Mormon ideas resonate with me and allow me to experience God in meaningful ways, and this to me is the most compelling reason that I believe as I do. I assume you were formerly a believing Mormon, and you’ve likely been in numerous discussions with other believing Mormons, so there’s likely nothing novel to you in my apologetics. 

            I can sincerely say that I appreciate what you guys do on here, and look forward to the day when the bulk of Mormons can be more comfortable with people who no longer believe as they do. The dialogue I’ve had on here makes me hopeful that true civility can ultimately prevail.

          • Fred W. Anson

            I apologize for the delay. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to stomp out brush fires from another, less reasonable and rational board member. To continue . . . 

            YOU WROTE
            Sorry, didn’t mean to bash on mainstream Christianity, but in terms of rationality, I don’t think it has any advantage over Mormonism. 

            MY RESPONSE
            No harm, no foul on the former and we will have to disagree on the latter. 

            YOU WROTE
            Granted individual Christian worldviews can vary dramatically, but if one is to take the Bible literally, they open themselves up to many of the same basic criticisms leveled at the Book of Mormon, not to mention the rational objections to the idea of a personal God. 

            MY RESPONSE
            I am an Evangelical Christian and I don’t take the entirety of the Bible literally.  In fact, I know of very few of my peers who do.  

            In mainstream Christian a literal belief in the Bible isn’t a requirement of orthodoxy. 

            YOU WROTE
            I find it ironic when Bible Christians apply a blatantly obvious double standard when evaluating Mormon truth claims, and similarly ironic when Mormons take shots at other religions in this way (as I guess I did earlier). 

            MY RESPONSE
            I’m not going to deny that many, perhaps most Biblical Christians, apply a double standard to Mormon truth claims.  In fact, I have been guilty of that myself in the past – but I am making every attempt to do better.  AND I have been taking my peers to the “wood shed” for this bad behavior. 

            It’s probably why some of my peers worry that I may have “gone native” and why I’m so frequently mistaken as a former member of the LdS Church (as you did). 

            That said, the fact remains that Biblical Christians have at least SOME physical evidence to back the historical claims of the Bible. The Book of Mormon has none. 

            In addition, I find that the internal evidence of the Bible is far more congruent and holisitic than Joseph Smith’s body of scripture. 

            I make both these claims only in passing as I do NOT want to drift this thread. 

            MY WROTE
            I can appreciate Palmer’s desires to make Mormonism more Christ-centered, but it’s no secret that the majority of people who leave Mormonism migrate into the atheist/agnostic/humanist camps.

            MY RESPONSE
            Actually that “majority” claim seems to be a myth.  The latest hard data that I’ve seen from both Pew and Gallup indicates that former members of the LdS Church go atheist at about the same rate as any other faith: About 50%. 
            (see http://pewforum.org/Christian/Mormon/A-Portrait-of-Mormons-in-the-US.aspx and to a lesser degree http://www.gallup.com/poll/125021/mormons-conservative-major-religious-group.aspx

            MY WROTE
            It’s fair enough to claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized his religious ideas, but from a Mormon perspective, there’s no reason to think God didn’t inspire other men and then allow Joseph Smith to complete the full synthesis. 

            MY RESPONSE
            That’s fine but Joseph Smith can no longer claim to be “Christian” since as the Ostlings said well in “Mormon America”:

            “…it is ‘surely wrong’ to see Mormonism as a Christian derivative in the way that Christianity is a Jewish derivative, because the LDS faith is ‘in radical discontinuity with historic Christianity.'” 
            (Richard Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, “Mormon America”, p. 324) 

            MY WROTE
            “But as I said before, Mormon ideas resonate with me and allow me to experience God in meaningful ways, and this to me is the most compelling reason that I believe as I do.”

            MY RESPONSE
            How can I argue with that? 

            We have to choose how we’re going to invest our lives and I must respect your choice. 

            MY WROTE
            I assume you were formerly a believing Mormon, and you’ve likely been in numerous discussions with other believing Mormons, so there’s likely nothing novel to you in my apologetics. 

            MY RESPONSE
            LOL! A common mistake, no I have never been Mormon nor will I ever be.  Here’s how one person put it (well in my opinion): 

            “Mr. IT [my alias on PostMormon.org] did something even more remarkable.  He is a nevermo with Mo relatives. He went directly from unaffiliated to apostate without experiencing all the pain and surreal experience of being a member.”
            — “HikerR” (Posting on PostMormon.org 2007-11-26)

            MY WROTE
            I can sincerely say that I appreciate what you guys do on here, and look forward to the day when the bulk of Mormons can be more comfortable with people who no longer believe as they do. The dialogue I’ve had on here makes me hopeful that true civility can ultimately prevail.

            MY RESPONSE
            Thank you, you’re very kind. 

            However, I want to thank YOU for your kind civility and respectful dialog – I needed it badly today after having to deal (too much, I might add) with a less civil, less resprectul, and far less reasonable member of the LdS Church yesterday and today! 

        • JT Reply

          James,

          I find the prospect of accepting mere non-impossibility as a standard of belief personally demeaning and extra-personally dangerous.  Can you see how it would not be impossible for me to see it that way?

          Cheers

          JT

          • James

            ‘Mere non-impossibility’ is just a starting point. We believe that ultimately, the most important evidence is that of a spiritual nature. In the end, the main evidence for me is that living the gospel brings me happiness. In this sense, whether or not the Book of Mormon is a historical document is a peripheral point, but when I accept that God lives and can commune with man, I also accept that he can tell me if the Book of Mormon is in fact true.

          • JT

            James,

            I can’t argue with that. Best wishes for all the happiness you can find and share in this life.

            Peace,

            JT

          • Anonymous

            Unlike JT, I can argue with that.  I especially reject that the “most important evidence is that of a spiritual nature.”  When one considers the abundant, mutually contradictory nonsense and numerous atrocities that we humans have perpetrated on each other, justified only by “evidence of a spiritual nature” in the very name of God, it is glaringly apparent to me that such evidence is just about the least reliable and least important evidence imaginable.  When added to and confirmatory of more substantial and objective evidence, it can perhaps enhance our appreciation, understanding and even enjoyment of reality, but when not backed up by (and especially when contradicted by) good, objective evidence and sound reason, evidence of a purely “spiritual nature” is useless and almost certainly self-delusional.

          • JT

            Gunnar,

            It’s not that I “can’t make an argument.” Rather it’s that I can’t (or won’t) argue with James given his “spiritual epistemology,” which will most likely withstand any rhetorical pounding I can dole out. 

            In other words, what constitutes a “starting point” for James (i.e. non-impossibility) is a “non-starting” point for me since one non-impossibility is as immune to objective evidence as the infinite number of others.  What is there to say to a person who embarks on a spiritual ride from the non-impossibility station?

            However, on second thought, James and your arguments can still be valuable for third parties to ponder and evaluate – which is what happens here.  So, in this sense, I stand corrected.  It’s just that I wouldn’t bother argue with him in private.  Rather I would say what I said above.

            Cheers

            P.S.  James, if your reading this, my wishes for your happiness presume that your spiritual pursuit of them will not involve “perpetrating atrocities.”   If they do, I take it back  🙂

          • Anonymous

            Thanks, JT.  When you put it that way, I find no significant point of disagreement with you.:-)

          • James

            The ‘spiritual evidence’ I speak of is simply the following: Living the gospel as I understand it brings me happiness. Ultimately, this has nothing to do with e.g. whether or not the Book of Mormon is a historical document, and I think the evidence provided by archaeologists is certainly more relevant from an objective standpoint. The possibility remains that someday the prophet will renounce the Book of Mormons as strictly historical (as the RLDS did long ago) and Mormons will breathe a collective sigh of relief, but honestly the Book of Mormon’s historicity doesn’t have much to do with how we Mormons live our life in the here and now. In fact, even if Joseph Smith was a charlatan, there’s no reason to think that God couldn’t have revealed through him beautiful and transcendent concepts about Himself and His relationship to humanity. As long as there is a God, anything is possible.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you James!  I can appreciate those sentiments.  Maybe it is indeed possible that the LDS Church will eventually adopt the same stance towards the BoM that the RLDS did.  I am sure that there are far more rank and file LDS who already take that stance than is commonly believed or suspected.  They would certainly breathe a collective sigh of relief were that to happen.  I would not deny that the BoM contains concepts and lessons that are worth emulating, whatever is the truth about its origins and historicity.  My favorite scripture is the account of King Benjamin’s speech.  His advice on the importance of loving and serving our fellow beings is pure gold, even if it were not actually engraved on gold plates as Joseph Smith claimed.  What other gift could we mere mortals possibly give to an omnipotent, loving diety (assuming that any such exists) that would have even the slightest significance to such a being, other than learning to love and serve each other?

        • Anonymous Reply

          To re-emphasize what others have already pointed out or implied, willingness to accept something as true merely because it has not been proven with 100% certainty to be impossible, makes it possible to defend belief in almost any absurdity imaginable.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I simply cannot believe that God would be so incredibly stupid and unfair as to require us to believe something, and then deliberately remove any evidence that it was true, or otherwise make it hard for us to believe simply to try our faith.  Every religious charlatan can easily claim that is the case whenever their claims are devastatingly contradicted by the available evidence.  This type of claim is so obviously made to order for such charlatans and is so often used by precisely such scoundrels, that the very use of it is fatal to the credibility of whomever uses it, or any concept or doctrine that cannot be otherwise defended.

  28. Fred W. Anson Reply

    A reference was made to what Alexander Campbell said about the theological anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. Here’s what he wrote:

    This prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the plates of Nephi, in his book of Mormon, every error and almost every truth discussed in N. York for the last ten years. He decides all the great controversies – infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of freemasonry, republican government, and the rights of man. All these topics are repeatedly alluded to. How much more benevolent and intelligent this American Apostle, than were the holy twelve, and Paul to assist them!!! He prophesied of all these topics, and of the apostacy, and infallibly decided, by his authority, every question. How easy to prophecy of the past or of the present time!!
    (“An analysis of the book of Mormon with an examination of its internal and external evidences, and a refutation of its pretenses to divine authority” by Alexander Campbell; from the Millennial Harbingera monthly periodical published by him in Bethany, Virginia; February 7th, 1831)

    (source = http://www.lds-mormon.com/campbell.shtml

    And for the record, the following list summarizes Campbellism doctrines, and indicates where they can be found in The Book of Mormon:

    1. A Great Apostasy necessitating a Restoration of the doctrines and practices of New Testament Christianity.

    Campbell referred to this as a restoration of the “Ancient Order of Things.” Rigdon referred to it as a “restoration of all things.” References in The Book of Mormon include the following: 1 Ne 12:11; 13:26; 2 Ne 26:9-10, 20; Hel 13:5.

    2. Restoration and Gathering of the Jews.
    — 1 Ne 15:19-20; 2 Ne 29:4; Restoration and Gathering of the House of Israel — 3 Ne 29:1.

    3. Imminent millennial reign of Christ,
    — 1 Ne 20:26.

    4. Campbell’s followers used the “Bethany dialect,” and especially what was referred to as the “word alone system.”

    This is a belief that religious experience came from hearing the divine word alone. Alexander Campbell referred to this concept in his remarks on the Bible Dec. 1, 1828: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/acampbell/tcb/TCB605.HTM.

    Mosiah 26:15-16 reads:
    Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone, which thou hast spoken unto them.

    5. Sacrament prayer and partaking of the sacrament bread and wine as a memorial rite in frequent gatherings.
    — Moroni 4:3, 5:2, 6:6.

    6. Rejection of infant baptism and original sin.
    — Moroni 8:1-12, 14, 20, 22.

    This doctrine is at odds with Methodism.

    This is relevant because of Smith’s documented attraction to Methodism, even during the translation process.

    7. Adult immersion for the remission of sins as the central ordinance of the Gospel.
    — 3 Ne 11:26.

    This elevation of the importance of baptism happened at a time when practically no other group of Christians made baptism that important or so easy to obtain. Calvinist churches demanded proof of a spiritual conversion experience before acceptance into a congregation. Campbellites merely asked for a statement of belief, and baptism was possible at a moment’s notice. In Mormonism, acceptance of The Book of Mormon qualified a new convert for immediate baptism, quick confirmation, and speedy ordination of male converts. This was a useful strategy for rapidly acquiring new converts among those who had been turned down for membership in other faiths.

    8. Missionaries of the church should provide their own support
    — Mos. 18:24-26; Mos. 27:4-5; Alma 1:3, 26; Alma 30:31-32; 2 Nephi 26:31 — and the clergy as well — Alma 1:3. Alma 35:3, 1 Nephi 22:23.

    9. Elders set apart by the laying on of hands.
    — Alma 6:1.

    10. Speaking as if authorized by Jesus Christ.
    — Words of Mormon 1:17; Mos. 13:6; Mos. 18:13; Alma 17:3; 3 Nephi 5:13; 3 Nephi 11:25; Moro. 7:2; Moro. 8:16.

    11. Reference to “the Holy Spirit” as a kind of shared divine nature –1 Nephi 2:17; 2 Nephi 2:28; Jar. 1:4; Mos. 3:19; Alma 5:46; 11:44; 13:28; 18:34; 31:35.

    Ideally, data on beliefs, such as the information on Campbellism summarized above, should be analyzed in the context of the major beliefs of each of the Christian sects in North America 1820-30. The relative uniqueness of each belief or practice could then be determined. However, in the absence of such data, it is reasonable to assume that those best qualified to compare Mormonism with the beliefs of other religions at the same time and place would be those living in that same time and place. Among them, Mormonism was quickly branded “Campbellism Improved.”
    (see: http://www.mormonthink.com/mormonstudiesrigdon.htm#16 ; retrieved 2011-03-28 )

    FURTHER SUPPORTING EVIDENCE:
    http://sidneyrigdon.com/criddle/rigdon1.htm#16
    http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&func=view&catid=520&id=82123#82123

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        My pleasure JT.  

        However, I really should step aside and give the real accolades to “Uncle” Dale Broadhurst who did the original research for the second session. He never fails to amaze me! 

        I just refined, reformatted and expanded on all his hard work to come up with this.

        • JT Reply

          Fred,

          Wasn’t Rigdon very close to Campbell? (Yes)

          Doesn’t this “deci[iding] all the great controversies” point to Rigdon’s hand in the Book of Mormon?

          Would Joseph have been able to keep up on all this stuff between his money digging, drawing magic circles, trying to win the faculty of abrac, and clearing fields, planting crops, etc.?

          Hmmm … makes me wonder.

          • Fred W. Anson

            You are correct on all counts JT.

            If you haven’t heard it yet, Craig Criddle’s lecture on the Spaulding-Rigdon Theory of Book of Mormon origins is a must listen/watch: 
            http://exmormonfoundation.org/video-audio.html

            Personally, I’m “sold” I think that the evidence is pretty persuasive that Rigdon was the principal author of the Book of Mormon (actually “synthesizer” might be more accurate since he plagiarized more than he produced original prose) followed closely by Oliver Cowdery with some input from Joseph Smith and Parley Pratt.

            The Criddle presentation goes into all the reasons for the above in some detail.

          • JT

            Thanks for the references … I’ll explore them.

            I am reading the Parley P. Pratt biography by Givens and Grows.  If we want to include Pratt in the conspiracy … well… it seems to me, based on my reading of his life as they portray it, a greater stretch to include him.  That seems to be be taking pious fraud to an extraordinary level.

            For instance, 

            (1) Smith (and/or Rigdon and/or Cowdrey and/or Young) kept Pratt on the road (Lamanite Mission, England, Chile, California, etc.) and therefore at “arms length.”

            (2)  Pratt was young at the time the BoM was produced and perhaps enthralled by the older Rigdon who had already constructed the story.  Perhaps Rigdon set Pratt up to stumble upon the BoM on his way to Chatham, NY (the next town over from where I grew up!) and then Rigdon was playing him as well with his fake conversion.   

            (3) Pratt named all but his oldest male children (8 of them at least) after Book of Mormon characters.

            (4) Pratt suffered for his faith and seems to have been thrown very few “bones” by his superiors (a life of financial hardships, family left behind often in dire circumstances).  Also Brigham kicked his proverbial ass when he got out of line and Pratt kissed Brigham’s for forgiveness (a little hyperbole here).

            Generally speaking, when going after a conspiracy theory there is a demand of weighing the plausibility of a “psychodynamic” theory (supported by evidence) that allows it to stand up through all the infighting against the plausibility of Joseph-as-sole-author theory which requires Joseph be such an extraordinary individual possessing both genius and charisma.

            By the way, Givens and Grows are remarkably candid and frank.  There is only the faintest hint of apologetic spin in just a few places.  Indeed, before I even suggest this I should admit the possibility of my own bias.  In many places they make very secular interpretations of Pratt’s behavior and the influences that lead to them.   I’m impressed.

            However, the thought occurred to me that LDS historians, perhaps as part of an inoculation strategy, are now willing to exercise (and demonstrate to the world) near complete intellectual integrity, but only at the expense of non-prophets.  In other words, they will sacrifice the “lesser lights” to preserve the essential core of faith – the presidents of the Church.  I felt that this was the strategy used by Walker, Turley and Leonard in “Massacre at Mountain Meadows.”  But again, I acknowledge some ambiguity in the evidence and my own possible bias.

            Cheers

            JT

             

          • Fred W. Anson

            I can tell from your response that you haven’t been through the Criddle lecture yet. The time period that we’re talking about is PRE-publication (1828 to be precise).

            Pratt’s role was extremely small compared to Rigdon, Cowdery and Smiths’ – he was pulled in to do the “rewrite” for the lost 116-pages – never-the-less his linguistic “fingerprint” (as Criddle puts it in the lecture) is distinct. 

            And the profile that you’ve given fits his role in the process perfectly.  Further, that brilliant mind of his was always there regardless of age and given the colloquial language and style of the BoM would have fit right in.  

            To be specific Pratt would have been 21 years of age, and I know that I’m projecting, but I was writing published advertising copy when I was that age so for someone of Pratt’s intellect and talent having the “chops” isn’t a stretch IMO.  In addition, he (who at the time was an elder in Rigdon’s Campbellite Church) was there only to support and under gird Rigdon’s efforts so he was writing under close supervision and only for a short, intense period of time.  He was a kind of theological and literary “ringer” that Rigdon pulled in to be the “Cleaner” (“Pulp Fiction” movie reference there) for the mess that Smith and Harris had created with the lost 116 pages fiasco.

            As for the suffering, well who didn’t suffer in Early Mormonism?  It was par for the course back then. And his cow-towing (more projection here) and “one upping” on the suffering front is typical of a lot of guys that I saw in The Shepherding Movement who thought that sycophancy combined with blind obedience was the ladder that one climbed to the top of the feeding chain. But, naturally one never sees this in Mormonism (tongue firmly in cheek) does one?

            Anyhow, I would recommend that you just listen to Criddle’s presentation – the evidence is there, it’s compelling and he presents it in a more complete form than I’ve done here.

          • JT

            Fred,

            I’m sorry I gave you the impression I was unaware of Craig Criddle’s work.

            I found his ExMo talk and paper shortly after reading “Who Wrote the Book of Mormon: The Spalding Enigma” by Cowdery et al. over a year ago.  Since then I’ve read Roper’s FARMS review, the Jockers et al paper, and the Schaalje et al response to it.  I have also worked through relevant history (mostly secondary sources) such as the Rigdon and Pratt biographies.

            So, my saying “I’ll explore it” was only half true.  The full truth is that I will (continue) to explore it!

            I have found Criddle’s update of Spalding/Rigdon intriguing, but I am determined not to allow myself to give it “compelling” status.  It is enough to judge it worthy of serious attention and more work. This is primarily because it takes us beyond mere testimony and analogical arguments. It provides a model (mechanism of production) that can be tested by historical and literary criticism, including the latest stylometric analysis methods.

            Also, as I see it, the Joseph-as-sole-author theory seems to be “all played out” in terms of evidence and rationalizations.  It seems to have settled into a secular version of an “argument from incredulity.” That is, just as the faithful believe that Joseph could not possibly have produced it without God, these secularists believe that Joseph could only have done it alone. (Sometimes I wonder if they have fallen in love with the idea Joseph-as-extraordinary-genius and don’t want to give that up).

            While conspiracy theories are generally unsavory to me, I think Criddle, Broadhurst, Cowdery, etc. have demonstrated is that it the best game in town, if not the only game, simply because there is more of it be played.  The theory allows for a fresh look at the evidence using methods that have not been exhausted.

            So, at this point: 

            (i) I have not been impressed with the apologetic criticisms (e.g. Matthew Roper, Fawn Brodie, etc), particularly with their conflation of Manuscript Story with Manuscript Found.

            (ii) I have not sorted through Schaalje’s rebuttal of the Jockers paper, which seeks to create a gap argument ove the issue of Jockers using a closed set of candidates.  I am just not sure how wide or relevant the gap is in this case and to what degree that diminishes the evidentiary weight of Jockers’s indings.

            (iii)  I am wary about testimony evidence no matter which side it favors.  I will never allow this to push any theory into the “compelling” category unless it is overwhelming. (Don’t ask me what constitutes “overwhelming”  – but Spalding’s family and friends don’t get me there- they just get me into the game.) 

            (iv)  I would like to see a strong plausibility argument rooted in scientific social psychology to lend some support to how such a conspiracy could hold together.  Thanks for your response to this.   I remain open to these possibilities.

            (v) Related to (iv), I think that John Hammer’s criticisms are valid (however rhetorically polished) and need to be addressed, or at least counterbalanced with evidence of similar scope and type (http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/07/18/the-spaulding-fable/).  

            And, perhaps most importantly

            (vi)  While feel it will be very cool if the evidence for Spalding/Rigdon piles up and becomes the most plausible model for the disinterested evaluator, I  will have no problem if it hits a wall leaving the precise truth of the Book of Mormon’s origins uncertain.  

            Just as there will always be a gap in the fossil record big enough for a young earth creationist to imagine the hand of God at work, there will always be a gap in a BoM theory big enough for a TBM to imagine a Lamanite.  The gap is already too small for me to see it.  All I need to ask myself is what I would do if some real archeologist digs up real gold plates covered with reformed Egyptian “caracters.”  🙂

            Cheers

            JT

          • Anonymous

            I too find Craig Criddle’s arguments intriguing and even quite plausible (certainly more plausible than Joseph Smith’s claims), but I don’t think that even Craig would argue that his theory about the origin of the BoM is a slam dunk certainty.  What is a nearly slam dunk certainty in my mind is that it is a 19th century work of religious fiction.

          • Fred W. Anson

            All very good points JT.

            I apologize for my presumption – you are clearly well versed on this subject.

            And if I offended you I apologize for my insensitivity and lack of tact as well.

          • Anonymous

            I appreciate you pointing out the contributions of Craig Criddle.  He is one of my heroes, as well as a dear friend of mine.  One of the highlights of my life was being an overnight guest in his home when he graciously offered me a place to stay while my wife stayed in the Stanford University Hospital overnight with our Downs Syndrome daughter who was there for a sleep study that determined assessed the extent of her sleep apnea.  He is a hero of mine, not only for his studies on the origins of the BoM, but for his remarkable, practical and much needed scientific research on bio-remediation and green technology.  See his website: http://www.stanford.edu/group/

  29. Scottie Reply

    George, I think you might have meant Geneva, not Kennecot.  Kennecot is a huge, open pit copper mine,  Geneva is (was) the steel mill.

  30. Ben Reply

    1 Nephi 3:19 — “And behold, it is widsom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers.”

    If this is the case, and the language was preserved so that Lehi’s posterity would have written language, where is the evidence of it?  None of those hundreds of thousands of people wrote anything down in that language and stashed it away somewhere?  No personal journals or diaries?  No genealogies?  No blessings from fathers to children?  No wills or legal documents?  No property descriptions?  No inscriptions in stone in that language anywhere?  No scrolls or plates or anything, anywhere?  I am amazed that I believed so fervently in the veracity of the Book of Mormon without stopping to question what it actually says.

    • Anonymous Reply

      It was Nephi’s children who tried that, and they’ve all died off.

      The lamanites are described as savage and uncivilized etc

        • Anonymous Reply

          yeap, if you get the point.

          Nephites did keep a record, did preserve their language all the way through to the gold plates that Smith was given.

          But the lamanites just weren’t into written language or journals or diaries! Hence we now have a people speaking from the dust ie the Nephites, and another group that doesn’t have written diaries or newspapers to show…..

          • FWAnson

            Cool! Let’s get the linguists going on those golden plates right away!

            Where are they?

          • Anonymous

            If you pray really really hard, this big dude Angle will come down in a ray of light and show you the plates…….

          • Fred W. Anson

            Ah, yes, another fallacious ad-hominem argument!  At least you’re consistent. 

            So DM, where are those plates?  Are they kept next to the source manuscripts that L. Ron Hubbard got from the Thetans for his Xenu origin story? Yes, I think that somehow they are!

            However, what we DO have is the Anthon Transcript.  So perhaps you could explain to us how “Reformed Egyptian” is actually an Ancient Irish script that was invented by Catholic Priests?
            (see http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/2000s/2001RBSt.htm ) 

            And by all mean, please try to argue to the evidence in Mr. Stout’s superb article rather than “to the man” should you decide to respond at all.

            Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            Fred, if you will excuse a bit of pedantry, the article you linked to (and which I also linked to earlier) did indeed say that Irish Catholic Priests frequently used that script, but I don’t think they invented it (though they may have modified it), nor were they the only Catholic priests that used it.  It is actually Tironian shorthand first used by Cicero and probably invented by his servant, Tiro.  Re-read that article and see if you agree with that conclusion.:-)

          • Fred W. Anson

            No, I believe that you’re right and I’m wrong.

            I’m going from memory and it’s been some time since I worked through Mr. Stout’s article. 

            Dark Matter is doing such a good job of spamming the site up that it’s getting hard to keep with him. 

          • Anonymous

            It was an attempt of humour.

            But you know where the plates are, since you know the story. And no, Thetans were the bad people….

            Re Anton script: you don’t have it, Hoffmann made that up and sold it for thousands. Anton probably tore up both the certificate and the piece of paper.

            You would have better luck arguing that you have the missing pages that Harris’s wife stole.

          • Anonymous

            DM,

            Can you point us to good evidence that what is now known as the Anthon Manuscript is just another Hoffman forgery?  If Hoffman did indeed ever have anything to do with that, it would indeed make it very highly suspect!

          • Fred W. Anson
          • Richard of Norway

            I generally try to avoid discussion with DM because of his spamming nature but I want to clear up this Hoffman allegation. The “Caractors” document did not come from Hoffman but has been in possession of the CoC for many, many years and was even published in a church publication in 1844.

            So, is it okay to ignore the rest of your posts since we clearly have discredited you as reliable? Isn’t that what you are trying to do with the anachronisms because of some of Larson’s statements? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to come off as hypocritical.

            Here’s the wikipedia quote about the document, with links.

            Caractors documentThe Community of Christ possesses the handwritten slip of paper known as the Anthon Transcript. David Whitmer, who once owned the document, stated that it was this slip of paper that Martin Harris showed to Charles Anthon, as noted above. Both Mormon apologists and critics, however, claim that it is not certain that the document is the original, since Anthon had mentioned that the characters on the slip he saw were arranged in vertical columns and ended in a “rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Aztec calendar given by Humboldt,” (1834) or “a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac” (1841).[10] The symbols on the document were published twice in 1844, after Joseph Smith’s death, as characters that had been copied from the gold plates, one of them in the December 21 issue ofThe Prophet.[8]

          • Anonymous

            ”  Mark Hofmann wasn’t even alive when Martin Harris showed the Anthon Transcript”

            Ah,,,,hmmmmm….no he wasn’t living in 1820’s. Point was that Hoffmann made at least one, sold it and then it was proven to be false. Now we miraculously have found another one, untested, but which I’m sure will also turn out to be a forgery.

            Hoffmann, the master forger, is really the missing link in all these battles between faithful mormons and ex mormons. Ex Mormons are far to quick to accept any new document that is critical of the church or disproves it, when it could just be another Hoffmann forged document.

            pd, I also enjoy editing wikipedia from time to time. Did a few articles from scratch too….

          • Richard of Norway

            Dude, the document is not new. It has been in the possession of CoC for EVER. What are you talking about?

            You are so quick to criticize others for not checking 100% of their facts all the time, so please show us the same respect.

          • Richard of Norway

            You don’t think you will show respect or you don’t think the document has been in possession of the Community of Christ (RLDS) for EVER? If it’s the respect part, then that’s cool. Nobody here respects you either, so I guess I don’t blame you. Oh, except that one guy. He said he respects you but I kind of think he’s lying. Or your sock puppet.

            Seriously, that document is authentic and has ZERO connection to Hoffman. You can pretend it does all you want but unless you provide some sort of evidence or source for this delusion, don’t expect anybody to pay any attention to your insanity.

          • Anonymous

            It’s as authentic as my delusion and insanity. I don’t see the point in explaining this any further to you since you’ve started down the road of very personal attacks,

            Although ‘delusion’ & ‘insanity”….damn! I knew I had a problem there somewhere!!! But now that you’ve cleared it up for me, how can I claim to be delusional????

          • brandt

            Just so you all know, I subscribed to the responses via email.  I got no sleep last night since you guys were going BACK AND FORTH all night long and my phone kept beeping at me that I got a new email.  So if my job performance suffers today, I’m blaming it on both of you.

            On another note, you guys are very entertaining – I’m just trying to lighten things up a little bit, but the discourse has been quite interesting.

          • Anonymous

            I did it on purpose …..

            I enjoy keeping the damned up and awake….with the lights on, does you good to see some light!

          • Fred W. Anson

            I see. 

            You behave like this by intention yet claim that’s you’re mentally and emotionally healthy? 

            And we’re supposed to believe you?

            Interesting . . .

          • Anonymous

            You never get any humour?? But this is just turning into a waste of time now. I have some work to do now, so I wont be back until the weekend to waste some more time arguing with ya!

          • Fred W. Anson

            Your post are so insane and denial based that it’s difficult to find any humor in them. And your attempts at humor are always cutting not benign, and not amusing.
            (unless one finds blind insanity humorous of course)

          • Fred W. Anson

            Since your jokes (more like jabs) Matty, are all mean-spirited, vindictive, and personal I don’t find them funny, Matty.

            And I only resort to belittling, diminishing and mocking debating opponents when they first resort to such juvenile behavior so they, hopefully, get jolted into seeing how stupid, childish and asinine it is Matty. 

            And, I’m so VERY sorry Matty, but I try to my utmost to not engage in psychopathological behaviors – however, apparently you have no problem with doing so.

            Matty.

          • brandt

            If you all would like to quit feeding the bear and start feeding the brandt, I’m currently accepting food donations in the form of food vouchers to both Taco Bell and McDonalds.  Just think of it as Fast Offerings that are in the world AND of the world.

          • Fred W. Anson

            I’m in but I would prefer to send you vouchers for Sprouts, Mother’s, or whatever your local Health Food Store is – I like you too much to watch you kill yourself one bite at a time! 

            😉 

          • Fred W. Anson

            Well at the risk of continuing to feed the bear . . . 

            Well since those that are delusional are utterly and completely convinced that it’s everyone else that’s not seeing reality correctly and that they’re the ONLY one who is seeing things 100% right  -and therefore must straighten out everyone else’s wrong perceptions – I want to thank you for validating Richard’s point for us. 

            Those who are mentally and emotionally healthy aren’t afraid to look at things from another perspective and don’t demand that others take on their reality.

            And for the record, I not only agree with Richard but suspect that there are many, many, many others who are lurking but not posting who are nodding their heads in agreement in agreement with him as well. 

            Seriously DM, you need to snap out it you’re not only making yourself look foolish as a representative of the LdS Church you’re making the institution look foolish with your irrationality as well.

          • Anonymous

            “Those who are mentally and emotionally healthy aren’t afraid to look at
            things from another perspective and don’t demand that others take on
            their reality. Further, if their “reality” isn’t aligned with objective,
            external evidence they they adjust their reality rather than try to
            adjust the evidence.”

            Ah, but you wont do that. As soon as someone says ‘well there’s another hypothesis to explain this, as apologist do, you’ll start do this road of insults and accusations of mental illness. Maybe, just maybe you could stick to the argument without the insults. None of us here are delusional or mentaly ill.

            By the way, for the record, I represent myself here not the LDS church. The church refuses to engage with you guys and argue endlessly over these issues.

          • FWAnson

            I see. So now any original manuscript that doesn’t show support your stance is a Hofmann forgery? Is that how this works?

            And we’re supposed to take you seriously …or consider you rational …because….?

          • Anonymous

            No, both of us, both sides, need to factor in Hoffmann.

            He did a lot of damage to the church but even more so to historical research. Now just about every historical document is in doubt. Just how it is nowadays.

            But maybe it isn’t a Hoffmann job and it is original. Doesn’t prove anything once you hear the explanation -also freely available should you bother to look it up……I leave you to it 🙂 not much room here anymore.

          • Anonymous

            you’re welcome….

            laugher is also good medicine from time to time.

          • Anonymous

            Yep.  Them Mayans…. they didn’t write anything down.  We don’t have one stitch of record keeping from them…………

          • Anonymous

            What makes you think the Mayan’s had anything to do with the lamanites?

            Most likely that the Mayan conquered the lamanites when they found them, not the other way around. Mayan were fairly advanced, although some drawings on the wall or a plate hardly constitutes ‘writing’ unless you have Joseph Smith to help you out with them….!!! …!!!!

          • Anonymous

            “What makes you think the Mayan’s had anything to do with the lamanites?”

            OHHH!  So you’re of the camp that believes the lamanites are the principle ancestors of the American Indians!  So then…. that DNA stuff probably drives you crazy, right?  That people use it to disprove the Book of Mormon?  Because there’s… like…. a totally obvious explanation for that as well.  Yeah man.  I’m with you there.  It’s SO annoying that people don’t see the OBVIOUS loopholes to every problem with the Book of Mormon and the credibility of Joseph Smith.  It’s too bad that most people aren’t as insightful and willing to admit the truth of the gospel as you are.

          • Richard of Norway

            ….!!! …!!!!

            DM’s eloquence at its best.

            Clearly, we are dealing with a teenage troll. I agree with Fred: let’s stop feeding the bear. Well, feel free but I am done.

  31. Anonymous Reply

    I appreciate you pointing out the contributions of Craig Criddle.  He is one of my heroes, as well as a dear friend of mine.  One of the highlights of my life was being an overnight guest in his home when he graciously offered me a place to stay while my wife stayed in the Stanford University Hospital overnight with our Downs Syndrome daughter who was there for a sleep study that determined assessed the extent of her sleep apnea.  He is a hero of mine, not only for his studies on the origins of the BoM, but for his remarkable, practical and much needed scientific research on bio-remediation and green technology.  See his website: http://www.stanford.edu/group/evpilot/

  32. Anonymous Reply

    “10 or 15 years off WWII for jets?” Nope, Germans had jets in combate over France, and Korean war 6 years after WWII were all jets fighting

    In WWII, they were: Messerschmitt Me 262 – World’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft
    Heinkel He 162 – Second jet engined fighter aircraft to serve with the Luftwaffe.Arado Ar 234 – World’s first jet-powered bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.

    All German Jet fighters during WWII. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jet_aircraft_of_World_War_II#Experimental_and_test_3]

    Now if you are so wrong on jets and WWII, what about the ‘obvious 100s’ of your BoM anachronisms? hmmm…..

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Oh goodie. DM’s back.

      Dude, all you have to do is refute the TEN anachronisms listed here. If you can’t do that, then please don’t resort to the smoke and mirrors routine you are so fond of. Stick to the topic at hand: Anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. Do you deny them? If so, please provide your contrary evidence. If not, STFU.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Dude you are a ignorant and rude SOB!

        Larsen also gets his machine gun analogy wrong. If he gets those wrong, simple guns and fighters jets from WWII, which wasn’t that long ago how can you trust him with something 2000 years old. Can he get his timeline right? hmmm…And we have to accept everything he says about old english? or the myth that hell wasn’t a part of the bible because King David was promised that the Lord wouldn’t leave his soul in Sheol for ever? just because the name changes, is that it? no, off course not!

        About your 10 anachronisms, there’s plenty of information out there from Jeff Lindsay and FARMS and others but you don’t believe them nor accept them so why would you believe me? why should I waste more time trying to fix your belief system? No, I’ll point out the obvious mistakes Larsen makes and then enjoy myself arguing with you!!!

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          (eye rolls) Here you go DM – I’ll save you the trouble of having to look it up: Your response is fallacious because you did NOT present any counter evidence, reasoning, logic, or other legitimate arguments – you simply launched into an “ad-hominem abusive” attack on John Larsen in an attempt to discredit him.From the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:      ad hominem1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect 2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made  To quote from the Wikipedia article on Ad-hominem tactics:“An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.[1] The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.[2] …Ad hominem abusiveAd hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem ) Again, for emphasis: “The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.”“This [Ad-hominem Abusive] tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”Translated from Latin to English, “Ad Hominem” means “against the man” or “against the person.”An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of “argument” has the following form:1. Person A makes claim X.2. Person B makes an attack on person A.3. Therefore A’s claim is false. The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).Example of Ad HominemBill: “I believe that abortion is morally wrong.”Dave: “Of course you would say that, you’re a priest.”Bill: “What about the arguments I gave to support my position?”Dave: “Those don’t count. Like I said, you’re a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can’t believe what you say.”http://www.lds.net/forums/general-discussion/12038-fallacy-ad-hominem.html

          • Anonymous

            Hmmmm.  … “because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character”I’m that sure that I’ve insulted Larsen or even told negative facts about his character. I think I pointed out his mistake in the jet fighter analogy -and the machine one too by the way- to point out that he does get his facts wrong from time to time. So, no, my comment regarding Larsen wasn’t ad hominem at all but very relavent. Point is that if he is wrong with something so simple and easily verified, ie German jet fighters in WWII, his credibility is damange for his other arguments, especially steel and BoM since it does have a good explanation -ie they used hematite for basic steel not stainless nor carbon steel of the 1800’s but bad quality steel which rusts away quickly.

          • Anonymous

            you don’t get it. good that you gave up…..another one bits the dust…..

            but your argument is fundamentaly flawed because I attacked what Larsen stated….no character attacks in there. so the correct algorithm is:

            1. Person A makes claim X.
            2. Person B makes an attack on claim X and show’s its untrue.
            3. Therefore A’s claim is false.

            (how’d you know I was a blind indian?)

          • Fred W. Anson

            Good grief! Something that insanely in denial MUST be addressed! 

            DarkMatter, is your delusion so deep and so embedded that you can’t see what you so clearly did here?  It went like this: 

            1. John Larsen makes claim X.
            2. DarkMatter makes an attack on John Larsen (Y).
            3. DarkMatter asserts that claim X is false because John Larsen is false. 

             In other words: 1=X is true
            2= 1 is false
            Therefore, since 1 = false then X = false

            The problem is that the veracity of X was never addressed! 

            And on those rare occasions when you attempt to present countering evidence it goes like this:

            1 = false
            Because I say so (that is, no supporting evidence is presented just opinion) 

            X = false (and BTW, so is 1) 
            Because I say so
            (that is, no supporting evidence is presented just opinion) 

            Y = true (and BTW, 1 is false) 
            Because I say so
            (that is, no supporting evidence is presented just opinion) 

            Therefore since, Y = true, 1 and Y = false, then X = false
            Because I say so. 

            Fallacy, upon fallacy upon fallacy, upon fallacy, upon fallacy. Why you can’t see this just boggles the mind! 

            In the future don’t you just post, “Neener, neener, neener John Larsen is a weiner!”  then stick out your tongue and leave the sandbox? 

            It would be just as logical, rational and reasonable as anything else that you post and would get us to your main argument a lot quicker than all this pointless and time consuming spamming that you engage in!  

            Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            “1. John Larsen makes claim X on the podcast.
            2. DarkMatter makes an attack on John Larsen (Y).
            3. DarkMatter asserts that claim X is false because John Larsen is false. 

            Rubbish Freddy,

            2. should be: DM attacks what John Larsen, claim X, said about jet plane as non existant in WWII, he said they were 15 years off or after WWII when in fact Korea was all jets fighting too.

            Again, you have misread or are just doing this on purpose but the so called attack was on the analogies Larsen used here, which are incorrect, the machine gun one too since they were used in the Boer War and self powered machine guns date to the 1880’s. Both prove that Larsen’s knowledge of military history is lacking and that is why he came up with the so called ‘logistics problem’ for the BoM wars -also false.

            And look I no longer read all your post, just the first few lines to dismiss it as rubbish, so I’m not sure you should bother with this anymore, but that’s up to you to decide.

          • Richard of Norway

            To be fair, I guess a more appropriate analogy would be:

            1) John Larson and 3 other people make claim X on podcast, where X = anachronisms in BoM.
            2) John Larson makes claims Y & Z, where Y = 10 & Z = STEEL.
            3) DarkMatter makes counter-claim, that Y = 3, not 10, and Y = steel (lowercase).
            4) DarkMatter says that claim X should be discounted completely, because claims Y & Z are (allegedly) false.

            X should not be considered rubbish simply because (in your opinion) Y & Z are slightly off. You have yet to counter the other 3 people who agree with X. Discounting one of the four messengers is not enough. Discounting ALL of them wouldn’t be enough either, frankly, because you would still have to take on the matter at hand: X.

          • Anonymous

            Closer, ….

            Howerver after 3) one needs to introduce the very subjective judgement of whether or not you trust what the dude is saying, where he gets his information from etc, after getting so many minor things wrong. Somewhere credibility becomes a factor. Now the others on the panel didn’t seem to be proponents of the X’s that much, although they seemed to agree and go along with what the leader there, John Larsen, was preaching.

            By the way, the X=anachronisms in the BoM was a different argument altogether from the problem with his analogies. The errors in the analogies is what introduces the credibility problem well before one considers X problem. That’s the problem Freddy doesn’t see here, it isn’t that one uses Y to disprove X (can’t be done) but that one goes from ‘Y is false’ to alarm bells ringing on the credibility issue.

            Also there aren’t any personal attacks on Larsen’s character. Saying someone is wrong isn’t the same as saying the person is lying nor is it a personal attack on your character. We are all wrong at some point or many points in life.

          • Richard of Norway

            The problem is neither Y nor Z were in actuality false. It was just another attempt at misdirection on your part. So no credibility was lost at all. And the others did in fact agree, although Brandt only agreed with some of them.

            To make things easier for you: Why don’t you just take the top 3 or 4 alleged anachronisms and explain why they are wrong. You have already had your try with steel. You may think you successfully debunked the claim, but several of us have heard your reasoning before and don’t buy it. At all. Now why don’t you try with the animals and then Isaiah and then down the line.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Hey, I’ve got a GREAT idea!  Since DarkMatter seems to have so much to say why don’t we get him ON the podcasts? 

            Maybe he could be the “faithful” voice when Brandt, or Mike Tannehill can’t make it.

          • Anonymous

            “The problem is neither Y nor Z were in actuality false”

            We’ve being over this. Y were the jets of WWII and the Germans did use them in combat. Plus Korean war were all jets fighting when Larsen claimed they started in combat 15 years after WWII ie Vietnam

            But we’ve being over this before, so it’s getting to be pointless now…..

            I did give you steel, what would’ve happened. but you don’t seem to want to even consider it. Why then would I answer the English language anachronisms or any other? 

            By the way the only way we know they had steel in ancient Africa is because of the drawings on a cave wall, as they were acustomed to do a lot, not because we’ve found the furnace or any evidence of production processes. But the nephite people prefered plates to write on not cave walls.

          • Richard of Norway

            Dude, do you not even bother to read any posts but your own? John Larson posted a clarification on this earlier today and as usual, you are mistaken or purposefully misinterpreting and misrepresenting what he stated. Why don’t you read his post and try again?

          • Richard of Norway

            the only way we know they had steel in ancient Africa is because of the drawings on a cave wall … not because we’ve found the furnace or any evidence of production processes.

            No, no, no. That is 100% wrong dude. Please stop with the lies!

            Read this TIME Magazine article about steel in ancient Africa and then try again.

            Here’s a quote if you’re too lazy to read it yourself:

            “Last year, in excavations on the western shore of Lake Victoria, they discovered the remnants of 13 furnaces nearly identical in design to the one the Haya had built. Using radioactive-carbon dating processes on the charcoal, they found that these furnaces were between 1,500 and 2,000 years old, which proved that the sophisticated steelmaking techniques demonstrated by the contemporary Haya were indeed practiced by their ancestors.”

          • Fred W. Anson

            Once again . . . and maybe eventually you’ll get this.
            Arguing to the man is arguing to the man not the evidence. It is always fallacious.

            And to say that you didn’t engage in personal attacks on John Larsen’s character is the stupidest (yes, that is the right adjective) kind of denial imaginable. If you really believe that then . . . well I’ve already said it several times now, there’s no need to be repeat myself.

            In fact, in the post I’m replying to you engaged in a subtle form of rhetorical ad-homineming called “diminishing” by calling me “Freddy” rather than “Fred”. I’m not a child so please show me and my adult arguments the proper respect by using my proper, adult name. If you continue I will show you the same courtesy and start referring to you as “Darky” or (to eliminate any suspicion of racial implications or undercurrents) “DarkyMattery00”.

            Thank you.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      DM, your arguments are both irrelevant and fallacious.  

      Launching ad-hominem arguments – that is trying to erode and discredit the character and/or credibility of the person presenting the evidence rather than addressing the evidence itself – may be classic LdS “distract and obfuscate” Apologetics but I think that this audience knows enough to see through such sleazy tactics. 
      (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem ) 

      Perhaps you should re-listen to Brandt’s analysis of such tactics on the podcast – it’s quite good. 

      However, you have given us a superb example of it – Daniel Peterson quality in fact!
      Thankfully you didn’t resort to just calling John, “Butthead” as Peterson did in his review of Brent Metcalfe’s classic book, ‘Re-Visioning the Book of Abraham’.
      (hey, I’m trying to look on the bright side here!)

      • Anonymous Reply

        Sure, its ad-hominem in logic however discrediting the person (witness) works very well in a court of law, worked well for Peterson (classic that ‘butthead’) and here, if anything, it does prove that Larsen can get a lot of basic things wrong and doesn’t do his research well.

        However there comes a point where the person is repeatedly wrong with so many details that they simply become unreliable, like a Krakauer today, so it isn’t that bad a tactic at all.

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          Well . . . that was quite a tirade. 

          Once again: 

          “The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.”

          “This [Ad-hominem Abusive] tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”

          And, at some point are you actually planning on addressing the evidence rather than those presenting it?  

  33. Anonymous Reply

    Argument that Vicking were inspired by God to make bricks even though they didn’t make bricks in Vicking land….etc 

    I’d point out the case of the East African people, The Haya, who discovered a high-heat blast furnace technique which allowed them to forge carbon steel at 1,802 °C (3,276 °F) nearly 2,000 years ago but they later lost that ability after being conquered and high-heat blast furnace technique wasn’t ‘discovered’ again until the industrial revelotion of the 1800’s. If we were to only acept that high-heat blast furnaces where a part of the european industrial revolution then we’d be arguing that the Haya people were fantasy a la BoM, but we don’t. 

    Another point could be the Chinese Armada from 1400’s who went all the way around to Africa but didn’t touch Europe so they aren’t well know. The size of that Armada was unmatched, even by the Chinese themselves, until WW1. If we use Larsen’s argument here we’d have to say that the WW1 Armada was the biggest, and then before that the English, and then before that the Spanish….etc completely ignoring the gains by the Chinese. But we fortunately have a record, one that give the dimensions of the largest ship which some scholars just don’t believe because they were longer than any wooden ship ever built during the 1800’s

    Doubt is the problem, not facts or evidence and this podcast once again shows how the unbeliever will eventual disbelieve everything, even the fact that there were jet fighters during WWII!!

  34. Buffalo Reply

    I agree with Garen – Deutero-Isaiah on the brass plates before it had been written is the biggest, most damning anachronism. 

  35. Anonymous Reply

    Larsen: “no evidence of the wheel in ancient america”

    Larsen: “no evidence of axles” 

    Again Larsen is just wrong:

    “Archaeologists, however, have found over one hundred examples of wheeled
    artifacts in the Americas. Most of these are pre-Columbian wheeled
    “toys” from Central America.33
    Many of these wheels were attached to the “toys” in different ways.
    This would suggest that the early Mesoamericans had some experience with
    axles and wheels.34
    Unfortunately larger vehicles would most likely have been constructed
    of wood, and wood deteriorates with time. If small toy-like objects had
    been fitted with wheels, it is impossible to think that the early
    Americans would not have understood the benefit of the wheel when used
    with larger items such as carts and chariots”

    9. Ancient American wheeled “toy.”
    http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse/

    with 2 axles!!!!

    -Then Larsen claims that ancient americans couldn’t have battles of over 1000 people or so due to logistics. Again, flawed knowledge of military history. Eurpean battle were larger than that during the era however the europeans kept records, the ancient americans didn’t. Logistics isn’t the problem. Plus a battle has a front line and rear lines, doesn’t mean that the 10 000 people are on the front line only.

    etc etc etc……wrong on many counts.

    Oh, now killed all except one guy? Doesn’t happen in battle, people turn and run? What about operation red wing today? even though they were only four guys they didn’t run and only one survived.

    -Larsen: steel , takes extreme high heat. etc.  wrong. Larsen is talking about stainless steel from the  industrial revolution. Up to 3000’deg? Again for cardon modern steel.

    Look don’t trust me, trust wikipedia:


    Ancient steel

    Steel was known in antiquity, and may have been produced by managing bloomeries, iron-smelting facilities, where the bloom contained carbon.[17]

    The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) and is about 4,000 years old.[18] Other ancient steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC.[19] In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military.[20] The Chinese of the Warring States (403–221 BC) had quench-hardened steel,[21] while Chinese of the Han Dynasty
    (202 BC – 220 AD) created steel by melting together wrought iron with
    cast iron, gaining an ultimate product of a carbon-intermediate steel by
    the 1st century AD.[22][23] The Haya people of East Africa discovered a type of high-heat blast furnace which allowed them to forge carbon steel at 1,802 °C (3,276 °F) nearly 2,000 years ago.[24] This ability was not duplicated until centuries later in Europe during the Industrial Revolution.”

    Again, Larsen is talking about stainless steel, or carbon steel which has less than 2% carbon and a product of the 1800’s -some after 1820’s too by the way.

    -Steel or Iron. you would say both? Well , yes you would. Steel alloy with over 2.1% carbon is today called cast iron, not steel anymore. Again it depends on what the alloy is or what you mix the iron ore with. If you mix it with mud, then it will only last a day. And again Larsen is showing his lack of technical knowledge of steel and iron ore products.

    -“Stained no more” yeah, it was so poor quality steel that blood would stain the swords! And those swords probably rusted out in a year or two as the BoM point too.

    -Question on whether it affects the active member: NO!, it doesn’t matter because a) there is a viable explanation available, and b) the spirit doesn’t bother with all this but moves one in a way no other book does, because its the spirit of god tutoring the reader about other matters….things that people like Larsen will never see nor hear.

    And we know that there will never be any proof for the BoM because its a people speaking from the dust, from complete destruction, ie they are all long gone.  maybe they are under gulf of mexico somewhere, we just don’t know because that has never been revealed.

    -What value apart from NT? it explains in clearer and simpler terms some of the basics of the NT. It testifies of a living, physical Jesus and not the nicrean creed Jesus, and many more smaller doctrinal matters.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      I hope to make this my last post to DarkMatter.  As it appears that each new post just “feeds the bear”. 

      However, at least he’s given some evidence (smattered around the usual ad-hominem abusive arguments of course) to work with – so that’s progress I suppose! 

      Here we go . . . 

      YOU WROTE
      (well actually Mike Ash, FAIR Apologist, wrote) 

      “Archaeologists, however, have found over one hundred examples of wheeled
      artifacts in the Americas. Most of these are pre-Columbian wheeled 
      “toys” from Central America.33

      Many of these wheels were attached to the “toys” in different ways. This would suggest that the early Mesoamericans had some experience with axles and wheels.34

      Unfortunately larger vehicles would most likely have been constructed of wood, and wood deteriorates with time. If small toy-like objects had been fitted with wheels, it is impossible to think that the early Americans would not have understood the benefit of the wheel when used  with larger items such as carts and chariots.” 
      http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse

      DarkMatter, Mike Ash is spin doctoring here.  These toys are no mystery to MesoAmerican scholars AND this fact was noted in the podcast – weren’t you listening?

      Furthermore, his last paragraph is a absurd since, as noted in the podcast even if there are no remains of the actual wheeled vehicles the peripheral evidence – such as rutted roads, remains of wheel making equipment, etc. – would be found in abundance as it was in the Middle East as were the remnants of actual wheels and chariots.   

      Finally, many Pre-Columbian artifacts that we have today are wood.  So Ash’s argument is self-defeating relative to the full body of evidence. 
      I would ask you to consider the following article from an source that’s objective and completely uninterested in The Book of Mormon (be it positively or negatively) in juxtaposition to Mr. Ash’s claims: 

      Given that this technology was known by several cultures of Ancient America, and given (and it is a FACT) that is was not in use to transport goods and people, the question begs answering: why wasn’t it used?

      In actuality, there are a limited set of plausible reasons why wheels were not used and wide-spread.  For the sake of speculation, they are:

      1) It was a sacred device.  It is common in cultures around the world for certain objects or devices to be treated as sacred, and not to be used.  However, there is no record of this being the case for pre-Columbian Wheels.

      2) Wheels were heretical, or forbidden for other reasons.  Again this might be a case of a religious connection.  Certainly, in Western religious traditions there have been numerous objects that were forbidden from use.  However, there is no record of this being the case for pre-Columbian Wheels.

      3) Pre-columbian roads really were not suitable to wheeled transport – feet navigate jungles and mountains far better.  Speaking from personal experience in the rediscovery of portions of a large road system in Costa Rica (at Guayabo), the Pre-columbian roads were far from smooth, and would have quickly destroyed wooden or stone wheels.  In fact, it was through the invention of iron bands that wooden wheels held up on European cobble-stone streets.

      4) They never made the connection from models to large scale – this is a known phenomenon that exists even today.  As difficult as it may seem to a modern mentality, it is entirely reasonable for this failure to grasp the significance of toy wheels to have existed.  Thus, small wheeled effigy models were as far as the thought process progressed.  However, there is no proof, one way or the other for this.

      5) They could not solve or evolve the supportive technologies needed for functional wheels: bearings, uniform manufacture, etc.  For a wheel system to function, to be used for its intended purpose as a load-bearing locomotion system, there are several components that must be in place and function reliably.  The wheel itself is a big part, but it requires an axel, and a bearing between them.  This could simply be grease lubricating the interface between the wheel hub and the axel, but without it, the wheel will bind or destroy the axel quickly.  Wheels also need to be uniformly manufactured.  We know these cultures could manufacture objects of extreme complexity in stone and soft metals, but wheels?

      6) Wheels might have been in limited use, but the technology was lost, and no artifacts remain.  It is known that warfare was widespread throughout Ancient America, in Mesoamerica and in the Andean region of South America especially.  It is probable that numerous advances in technology were lost, as the artisans that developed them were overrun and killed or made captive.  This may be one of the reasons we see sophisticated crafts devolve into more primitive, as occurred in many regions.  If there were limited wheel makers, they may have expired before being able to spread the knowledge needed.  But remember, this is speculation.

      7) They never saw the need.  With a abundant human workforce throughout Ancient America, and without large beasts of burden, wheeled vehicles would have been redundant and unnecessary.  In practical terms, it is easier to carry goods, than to pull the good and the wagon, if the terrain is not well suited to wheeled vehicles.  

      However, in other cultures wheeled vehicles were pulled by humans, and while the cobbled roads were not very suitable to smooth travel, we know there were roads well suited to wheeled vehicles in Mexico and Peru.  In the end, the most likely explanation is that the wheel, by virtue of being only used on small effigies (toys) had an unknown religious significance that has not survived, that, and the lack of need, are the reasons, more than any other, that prevented the wheel’s use in utilitarian roles.

      But there are other factors involved also. The principle of rotary motion is obvious to our modern senses, and was well known throughout the New World. The Inca culture, for example, are thought to have used wooden rollers to haul some of the giant stones  used to build Cuzco and other cities. Unfortunately, as previously said, there was a total lack of draft animals, with only one beast of burden known: the llama, which was used solely as a pack animal.  Without draft animals you cannot do extensive hauling with sledges, and without sledges it will never occur to their builder that the wheel would be a next logical step. When the Inca’s architects had to transport heavy objects, they relied on manpower, often to the considerable sorrow of the men doing the powering (some 3,000 of 20,000 workers died dragging one particularly massive stone, according to chronicles). Consequently, heavy hauling in the New World was restricted to manpower. The Sumerians, on the other hand, had considerable experience with the use of sledges, but even so it took them 2,000 years of design evolution before the idea of the wheel finally dawned. Not that it just popped out of thin air. The general sequence of friction-reducing inventions is thought to have been: sledges with runners, sledges over loose rollers, sledges with rollers held in place by guides, sledges with rollers held in place by guides and thickened on the ends to make them roll straighter, sledges with the wheel and axle (a cart), and from there it’s a straight path to a Tiajuana Taxi!

      Tim McGuinness, Ph.D.
      Scientist, Author, Publisher
      December 2007

      (source http://www.precolumbianwheels.com/

      Further, I would add that (as Will Bagley noted in Podcast #156 http://mormonexpression.com/2011/09/13/156-dale-morgan-lecture-will-bagley/ ) there to this day old wagon wheels, axles and other remanents of 18th and 19th Century migration strewn all along the old Southwest trails.  So clearly the American climate isn’t some type of wheel eating, axle eating monster as LdS Apologists claim. 

      In the end their claims fall short given the full, objective body of evidence. 

      YOU WROTE
      “Then Larsen claims that ancient americans couldn’t have battles of over 1000 people or so due to logistics. Again, flawed knowledge of military history. Eurpean battle were larger than that during the era however the europeans kept records, the ancient americans didn’t. Logistics isn’t the problem. Plus a battle has a front line and rear lines, doesn’t mean that the 10 000 people are on the front line only. 

      etc etc etc……wrong on many counts. 

      Oh, now killed all except one guy? Doesn’t happen in battle, people turn and run? What about operation red wing today? even though they were only four guys they didn’t run and only one survived.”

      MY RESPONSE
      (yet again) 
      Evidence? Sources? Data? 

      (yet again) 
      Uncited, unsupported claims are opinion not evidence.  

      YOU WROTE
      “…steel , takes extreme high heat. etc.  wrong. Larsen is talking about stainless steel from the  industrial revolution. Up to 3000’deg? Again for cardon modern steel. 

      Look don’t trust me, trust wikipedia: 

      ‘Ancient steel
      Steel was known in antiquity, and may have been produced by managing bloomeries, iron-smelting facilities, where the bloom contained carbon.[17]

      The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) and is about 4,000 years old.[18] Other ancient steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC.[19] In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military.[20] The Chinese of the Warring States (403–221 BC) had quench-hardened steel,[21] while Chinese of the Han Dynasty

      (202 BC – 220 AD) created steel by melting together wrought iron with cast iron, gaining an ultimate product of a carbon-intermediate steel by
      the 1st century AD.[22][23] The Haya people of East Africa discovered a type of high-heat blast furnace which allowed them to forge carbon steel at 1,802 °C (3,276 °F) nearly 2,000 years ago.[24] This ability was not duplicated until centuries later in Europe during the Industrial Revolution.” 

      Again, Larsen is talking about stainless steel, or carbon steel which has less than 2% carbon and a product of the 1800’s -some after 1820’s too by the way. 

      -Steel or Iron. you would say both? Well , yes you would. Steel alloy with over 2.1% carbon is today called cast iron, not steel anymore. Again it depends on what the alloy is or what you mix the iron ore with. If you mix it with mud, then it will only last a day. And again Larsen is showing his lack of technical knowledge of steel and iron ore products. 

      -“Stained no more” yeah, it was so poor quality steel that blood would stain the swords! And those swords probably rusted out in a year or two as the BoM point too.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Q: Did “Larsen” say that he was talking about stainless steel in the broadcast?  
      A: No, he didn’t. 

      Q: Did “Larsen” say that NO steel was produced anywhere in the world during the Book of Mormon period? 
      A: No, he didn’t, he simply stated that there is no evidence for steel production in the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans. 

      DarkMatter did you listen to the podcast at all? I’m really beginning to doubt it.   The point was made in the podcast that OTHER metal objects have been found in the Americas but they were always jewelry not weapons. And none of them were steel by ANY definition. 

      YOU WROTE
      “Question on whether it affects the active member: NO!, it doesn’t matter because a) there is a viable explanation available, and b) the spirit doesn’t bother with all this but moves one in a way no other book does, because its the spirit of god tutoring the reader about other matters….things that people like Larsen will never see nor hear.” 

      MY RESPONSE 
      Well, ignoring the fact that this is yet another insulting, character attacking, ad-hominem argument against John Larsen (yawn) intended to discredit the message by discrediting the message . . . 

      OK, so Dark Matter, let’s say that I’m a Muslim you dared to question my religion. How would YOU respond to the following:  

      “Oh yeah Dark Matter! Well does critical analysis of Islam affect the active member: NO!

      It doesn’t matter because: a) there is a viable explanation available; and b) the spirit of Allah doesn’t bother with all this but moves one in a way no other book does, because its the spirit of Allah tutoring the reader about other matters….things that people like YOU will never see nor hear DarkMatter!

      Which is why I must now bear my testimony: 

      For me, I believe that Muhammad was a prophet because of the Qur’an–because I read it, and in my own estimation after reading it, reflecting on it, and praying about it, I found in myself an unwavering belief that the Qur’an is without a doubt revealed by the Lord of the Worlds, by the Almighty God.[1]

      So take THAT you infidel Mormon unbeliever!” 

      So DarkMatter whose “moving of the spirit” wins? 

      YOU WROTE
      “And we know that there will never be any proof for the BoM because its a people speaking from the dust, from complete destruction, ie they are all long gone.  maybe they are under gulf of mexico somewhere, we just don’t know because that has never been revealed.”

      MY RESPONSE
      OK, so how is that any different than how the assertion that a Scientologist would make that the lack of evidence for the Xenu origins myth doesn’t disprove it since it was all destroyed in the galactic wars in space and in the volcanos here on earth? 

      Lack of evidence isn’t evidence DarkMatter. 

      YOU WROTE 
      “What value apart from NT? it explains in clearer and simpler terms some of the basics of the NT. It testifies of a living, physical Jesus and not the nicrean creed Jesus, and many more smaller doctrinal matters.”

      MY RESPONSE
      DarkMatter I know you don’t realize it but you’ve just demonstrated your ignorance about what Nicea was about and what the creed affirms. 

      The creed AFFIRMS a living, physical Jesus who was divine. Please refer to the following:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea
      http://www.equip.org/articles/what-really-happened-at-nicea-

      Again, you have railed again, again, and again against John Larsen as a credible source but such behavior just demonstrates that you are in fact projecting yourself onto Mr. Larsen and/or you are an utter hypocrite.  I would strongly encourage you to stop this insanity now before you make an even bigger fool of yourself in public. 

      Thanks. 

      NOTES: 
      [1] if you read through the rest of this discussion thread you will discover that this is a REAL testimony, it is not contrived.  It can be found at http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=c37f3f001ea2276b7b74b15a8cf740c6&p=4462691&postcount=3 

      It mirrors the “stock” Muslim Testimony know as the Shahada: 

      “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammed is the servant and Messenger of Allah.”
      (the “Shahada”)

      • Anonymous Reply

        “DarkMatter, Mike Ash is spin doctoring here.”

        Here’s our problem Freddy. Seems any explanation, any counter argument, any other proposition or theory which can in some say help the BoM story will be rejected by people like you and the Normway guy. It’s a reasonable leap to say if they had toys with axles they could have been modeled after the real thing. Perfectly logical, makes sense, could be, maybe true but you reject it.

        We really have nothing more to go over until you are willing to acept that, maybe, there are theories or even just basic explanations to counter you anacronisms here. If you can’t accept that I’d be trying to explain red to a blind man!!!

        And you never heard of Redwings? you ask for evidence for it? for the fact that men don’t run away but stand and fight to the end? and you’re an american? shame….shame on you for that one.

        Re: regarding John Larsen; would you rather his obvious errors in history just go unnoticed and unchecked? wouldn’t a friend actually point out the mistake and say ‘hey, you should correct that’. I think a friend would.

        “Q: Did “Larsen” say that he was talking about stainless steel in the broadcast?  
        A: No, he didn’t. ”

        Again you aren’t reading what I wrote here. John’s mistaken, or error, is his reference to steel in the podcast where he is actually getting stainless steel (a 1800’s invention) mixed up with ancient steel. He claimed that you need about 3000+ degF or so to make steel, yeah true for stainless steel, not for what the ancients mixed iron ore and also got ‘steel’ for their weapons. Problem is also that the english language now uses ‘steel’ for both stainless steel and just any iron ore alloy, wootz steel, ancient steel etc. Problem is Larsen assumes in this podcast that the BoM talks about stainless steel when it doesn’t since it wasn’t even invented when Smith first printed the book! And cmon the chiness made intermediate carbon steel by the 1st centry AD, so why could some dude here in the americas? Oh, you have no proof of it , right?

        • Fred W. Anson Reply

          YOU WROTE
          “Here’s our problem Freddy. Seems any explanation, any counter argument, any other proposition or theory which can in some say help the BoM story will be rejected by people like you and the Normway guy. It’s a reasonable leap to say if they had toys with axles they could have been modeled after the real thing. Perfectly logical, makes sense, could be, maybe true but you reject it. ”

          MY RESPONSE
          No, Matty, our problem here is that you bend the facts to fit your preconceived conclusion rather than letting the facts let you to the conclusion.

          That and the fact that you’re snark raving insane.

          Once again: If there was evidence of axles and wheels in pre-Columbian America we would have found them by now just as we have in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

          I agree with Richard you make Mike Tannehill look like a faithful voice of reason – and, frankly, I didn’t that anyone could do that!

          “Congratulations” Matty.

  36. Fred W. Anson Reply

    CONTINUING FROM BELOW DUE TO INDENTING

    DARKMATTER WROTE
    “Ah, but you wont do that [consider other perspectives that differ from mine]. As soon as someone says ‘well there’s another hypothesis to explain this, as apologist do, you’ll start do this road of insults and accusations of mental illness.”

    MY RESPONSE
    DarkMatter I’m rejecting arguments are being rejected because IMO they’re clearly skewed to feed your delusion.  You’re bending the fact to fit the pre-conceived conclusion again, again, and again. 

    And your chronic ad-homineming simply validates that you’re so emotionally invested in your psychosis that you would rather character assassinate anyone bringing objective countering evidence than give anything that they say a fair hearing. 

    I understand this very well, when I was in a Mind Control Cult I behaved very much like you do now.  Clinically it’s called, “being in a Snapped Psychological state”.  http://books.google.com/books/about/Snapping.html?id=jrkq7s2i12EC
    http://www.amazon.com/Snapping-Americas-Epidemic-Sudden-Personality/dp/0964765004

    If you will refer to my latest Mormon Expressions blog I have two articles up on this phenomenon at the moment with more to come. 
    http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/author/fred/ 

    And your posts have been a gift – a wonderful case study of how a Snapped Psychological State manifests itself practically and in the real world. 

    Thank you! 

    YOU WROTE
    “Maybe, just maybe you could stick to the argument without the insults.”

    MY RESPONSE
    LOL! Ah the glaring hypocrite speaks forth from deep, deep, deep within his Psychological Projection! 

    DarkMatter you started with ad-hominem abusive arguments liberally laced with insults of John Larsen and you haven’t stopped despite our attempts to reason with you. 

    However, it is clear that you just came here to pick a fight and you got one.  After this post I’m simply going to ignore you and I hope that others do as well. 

    YOU WROTE
    None of us here are delusional or mentaly ill. 

    MY RESPONSE
    Sorry DarkMatter but your behavior and words indicate otherwise. Honestly, I think a little “couch time” might do you some good mate! 

    YOU WROTE
    By the way, for the record, I represent myself here not the LDS church. The church refuses to engage with you guys and argue endlessly over these issues.

    MY RESPONSE
    You are an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are you not?  
    If so, you ARE a representative of that organization – albeit an unofficial, informal representative.

    Further, all organizations are judged and evaluated by society by it’s members – period. 

    So yes, you DO in fact represent the LdS Church whatever, wherever, and however you behave.  

    And frankly if all Mormons were like you I could only conclude that the organization was frakin’, irrationally looney tunes! 

    Frankly, and IMO, you don’t represent the LdS Church well DarkMatter.  If I were your Bishop I would ask you to stop before you embarrass yourself and the LdS Church any further.

    Now I’m done here.  I shall no longer respond to your posts.

  37. Ben Reply

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the famous “gold cover” edition of the Book of Mormon, a copy of which I have in my possession, has the characters from the “caractors” document all printed all over it.  So the Church believed for many years (and presumably does still believe) that those are the actual characters that were on the gold plates. 

    See a copy at the following eBay listing:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1977-BOOK-MORMON-Gold-Plates-Cover-MUST-SEE-/310318019949

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      I used to own one of those too. It was printed in 1977 (reprinted in 1980) and based on the “Caractors” document that has been in possession of the CoC (formerly RLDS) since 1903, and before that was in the hands of David Whitmer. For anybody to pretend that document could be a Hoffman forgery – or forgery of any kind – is misguided ignorance on the subject.

      The RLDS transcript was given to the Church in 1903 by the heirs of David Whitmer, fifteen years after his death in 1888.  The first account of Whitmer’s possession of this document was made by Edward Stevenson (later a member of the First Presidency of Seventies) who visited Whitmer in 1871 and made a copy of the document.  Later, the March 25, 1881, edition of the Richmond (Missouri) Conservator reported that Whitmer had the original transcript, a claim which Whitmer made again in 1887 when he wrote, “I have in my possession the original paper containing some of the characters transcribed from one of the golden plates, which paper Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon of New York… .”  In 1884 a committee of the RLDS Church conversed with Whitmer and were shown the transcript.

      Read more about it here: http://mormonthink.com/book-of-mormon-problems.htm#anthon

  38. Anonymous Reply

    On Jets:

    I would like to clear a little up on my jets analogy. When I gave this example and the example of machine guns, I was thing of particular things. When I was talking about jets, I was actually thinking of F-16 fighter jets. However, I was trying to extract my example to the general and I figured that not everyone would know what an F-16 was. My mistake.

    However, the analogy still holds. There are weapons that fit a specific time frame and they are out of place before that.

    The criticism of this analogy actually help prove the point. It is true that there are always prototypes that proceed the general acceptance of a technology. But the fact that these WWII fighters were a special marked case and not the general rule shows the dangers of anachronism. “There is always someone with a big nose, who knows”. The point is very specific technologies point out very specific details and the knowledgeable historian can use those artifacts to pin-point a specific place and time and people. No one is criticizing the overall argument in a manner to suggest that jet fighters were the normative fighting airplane in the war, and that is the issue.

    There is a little sight of hand that apologists like her, that is assuming the general from the specific. Even though there were jets in WWII, it would be erroneous to suggest that WWII was fought with jets–implying either majority or exclusivity or even implicating “normal”. Jets were not normal during the war. They were an edge case. The trick for apologists is to use the edge case to try to argue for normal.

    This is the same with our ages. The bronze age refers to the time when bronze tools were the common technology. Could someone during that time possible be using iron tools? It is possible but it is not normal. Likewise, steel did not simply emerge over night. So you can find proto-steel technology and an evolution from iron to steel. When we talk about ages, we are simply using a shorthand.

    But as I said in the podcast, all of this leaves historical evidence. So if you can show me some Hittite village had a coke furnace in 1800 BC, that does not establish that steel was possible in the time frame of the Book of Mormon.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      I’m sorry John. But DarkMatter tells me that since you got this wrong I shouldn’t believe anything that you say any more! 
      Sorry. 
      (tongue firmly in cheek)

    • Anonymous Reply

      Are you not doing the same, generalising to argue that no-one could have had the technology? For example while steel was non-existant for say the Selknam of Tierra del Fuego in the 1800’s, that doesn’t rule out others knowing about it or developing a low grade version (ie not stainless steel). Not being a common technology doesn’t prove anything for every other group of peoples or nations especially in the fractured world we had previous to the 1400’s when people in Asia had no knowledge of the people in America or even Australia. I’d say that only an overly centrist European world view would belive ottherwise

      By the way what cought my attention was the “15 year after WWII” claim when Korea was all jets fighting. But if you say you were thinking about an F-16, then fine, I can see the error however, to be nitpicky, F-16 started service in 1980, 35 years after WWII ie more than the 15 you claimed. So there is still an error there in the analogy    🙂

      Also the german jets of WWII weren’t prototypes of a technology at all. the Messerschmitt Me 262 was fully operational and would have kept fighting but the war ended. Other previous planes were prototypes of the technology and they didn’t go into combat. Actually the technology was so widely accepted in 1945 that only 5 years later in the Korean war, it was fought mostly by jets only.

    • Patriarchal gripe Reply

      Great point, John. Every apologetic argument regarding BofM anachronisms all are fringe evidence, at best, parallelisms at worst. Even worse, in some ways, are the missing evidences, the jaguars, bison, cocao bean, squash and maze. To use the jet analogy further, it is similar to reading a war story of the European air war, and finding it is described using Japanese Zeros and Betty bombers, with the Allies bombing Dresden with B-29 bombers, aircraft used only in the Pacific theatre. If someone read a book describing Marines storming the beaches of Normandy, it might sound like a good fit for the story, if you are reading this 500 years from now, but an archaeologist or historian is going to know there is a problem.

  39. Anonymous Reply

    On Hippopotamus:

    Sorry to leave you all hanging in the podcast. Hippos has to do with the Tapir argument and other linguistic arguments by apologists.

    Here is the dope on Hippos. The word hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse”. Some presume it was because a hippo (which doesn’t look at all like a horse) does resemble a horse when it just surfaces its snout. When a horses is swimming only its head will be out and I guess they sort of look the same. Anyway, that is all conjecture.

    However, the Greeks named it River Horse and the name stuck. I understand that in some Greek writing, they are just referred to as hippos–which would be just calling them horses in Greek. It is assumed that the reader would be able to understand the ambiguity from context.

    Now let us suppose that a modern translator is translating the passage from ancient Greek talking about hippopotamus. Even though the origin of the word means “horse” it would defeat the entire purpose of translating to translate the word as horse, as that was not the intended meaning of the author. Any translator worth their salt can tell the difference between word origin and current contextual meaning.

    To suggest that Nephi brought the term horse over from the Old World, it was then applied to indigenous animals, and then was later translated back to “horse” by either Mormon or Smith is to accuse them of willful misdirection.

  40. Richard of Norway Reply

    Man, you really think you’re making counter arguments don’t you?

    You keep threatening to give up because nobody’s buying your bridges but you keep spewing the same non-arguments as though they mean something. I honestly think you should take that break you hinted at, re-listen to this podcast, focus on the actual anachronisms, think about plausibility, and then come back and try to give real answers. Right now you’re pretending to address the issues but you’re really avoiding the core issues. It isn’t about stainless steel it’s about steel production. It isn’t about axels or wheels it’s about production, ruts and so much more!! You ignore the essentials and try these smoke-and-mirrors act hoping to distract people from the inevitable conclusion: that the BoM is not what it claims to be.

  41. Anonymous Reply

    I could buy the notion that starving people, decimated after a horrible war, would kill and eat their horses for sustenance. Heck, I know of stories of people coming out West in the 1800s who did just that.

    For the sake of argument, I’ll entertain your notion that there were apocalyptic scale wars.  (I don’t buy it.  But I’ll pretend to for this post.)  There would have been people who “won” those wars… or at least came out ahead… who wouldn’t have needed to eat their horses.  Basically, horses would have survived in the more victorious tribes.  And that’s setting aside the fact that it would make more sense for the groups of defeated peoples to fish and hunt and gather wild berries, etc, before they’d ever eat such useful tools as horses.  The stories in history I mentioned above show that killing and eating your horse is a last resort.  Last last last.  As in… after eating the fringe off your mountain man coat last.  It would kinda be equivalent to torching your car and your farm implements for warmth instead of hacking down the trees on your property for firewood instead.

    Furthermore, Japanese people eating horse meat doesn’t prove the claim that ALLLLLLLL horses on the face of the American continent were slaughtered to feed a starving people.  It’s just not a logical leap to take.  But it is a pretty clever apologist loophole.  OK.  Maybe clever is the wrong word.  Humorous is probably a more apt description.

  42. Anonymous Reply

    “Mike was the voice of reason in these podcast but what did you guys do to him? …”

    Mike is still a part of the podcast.  He was on 3 episodes ago.  He’ll be on again in the future.  I’m not sure what you’re insinuating.  But I assure you Mike is still alive, kicking, and participating.

  43. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Listening to this podcast again, I was struck with the statement that Eoropean society adopted the most productive crops from the new world. Tomatoes, maize, corn …
    since I have long understood maize to be another name for corn, I looked it up. Wikipedia says:

    “The term “maize” derives from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taino word maiz for the plant. This was the term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it is now usually called “sweet corn”, the most common form of the plant known to people there. Sweet corn is harvested earlier and eaten as a vegetable rather than a grain.Outside the British Isles, another common term for maize is “corn”.

    This was originally the English term for any cereal crop.”

    The terms maize and corn generally mean the same thing, do they not? Is this similar to Joseph Smith’s use of Elohim, God, Jehovah, the Messiah and Jesus Christ? (Interpreting titles as proper names or multiple names for an individual as referring to distinct individuals)

  44. Anonymous Reply

    Dark Matter,

    If you’re interested in being on the podcast, email me.  heather [at] mormonexpression [dot] com

  45. emmasrandomthoughts Reply

    Just wanted to state two things.

    1 The KJV was NOT widely used by Catholics, even English speaking Catholics. First of all, the Council of Trent stated that Bibles should be directly translated from the Latin Vulgate, the translation attributed to St. Jerome. Second of all, Catholic Bible has footnotes linking the passages to interpretations by councils as well as previous Doctors of the Church. Third, the Protestant Bible do not have seven Old Testament books that Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) accept as Scripture. English speaking Catholics would have used the Douay-Rheims version of the Scripture. It was translated and compiled at around the same time as the KJV, so the language sounds very similar.

    2 For all the anachronisms in the Bible, very few people would doubt that it is an ancient document of an ancient people recording ancient stories. I think it is hard to argue the same about the Book of Mormon. Whether or not is divinely inspired is another issue, but I think that the Mormon church is in a bit of a bind by insisting that it is an ancient record of an ancient people and that it actually happened.

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