Episode 60: Bullseyes in the Book of Mormon

In this Episode John Larsen chats with “consiglieri” about the historical hits in the Book of Mormons.

Episode 60

78 comments on “Episode 60: Bullseyes in the Book of Mormon”

  1. Glenn Reply

    This was such an interesting podcast, and I want to make three points to start:

    First, I think the one-on-one format was very effective here. I have nothing against the panel discussions — I enjoy listening to them and participating from time-to-time as well, but at the risk of browning my nose too much, ME always boils down to John Larsen for me, and this was such a great display of John leading an interview and pulling out insights and perspectives that I don’t get from any would-be teachers on Sundays.

    Second, Consiglieri was INCREDIBLE. I am sure there are going to be several Mike-related comments here along the lines of “finally a TBM who…” blah blah blah. I totally dig Mike and love playing in the same sandbox with him, so I don’t want to slam the guy, but I have to say that the closet wanna-be beleiver in me found a lot of encouragement in Consiglieri — the willingness to discuss and articulate your points and receive John’s push back — it was terrific, commendable, and a bunch of other superlatives. I found the discussion about names especially interesting. I’m sure there will be more to say about those later on in this discussion thread and perhaps in another podcast at another time, but suffice it to say, I hope you come on to ME again. (that could be read a little strange…)

    Finally, I really liked the final point you made about reading the scriptures outside of the Mormon-spin zone. I did that several years ago with 1 Corinthians 15, and found to my great amazement that Paul (or whoever) had authored a nicely balanced, well organized binary — corruption vs. incorruption, death vs. immortality, things of earth vs. things of heaven, terestrial things vs. celestial — and I realized much to my amazement that in this perfectly constructed binary, there was no room for a third category. It wasn’t sun=celestial, moon-terrestrail, and stars=telestial — it was heaven=celestial, earth=terestrail, and I finally understood why I could never find any examples of the word ‘telestial’ outside of Mormonism — it was a completely fabricated word superimposed on a binary construct through JST to support the three degrees of glory — but it didn’t fit! Anyway, your epiphery (Michael Scott word) about the dual spirits that can claim us in the afterlife reminded me of this. And you are right — once you see work out something like this for yourself through pondering etc etc, you never see it the same way again.

    Thanks for this podcast — loved it! Until next time, bretheren, adieu.

  2. Glenn Reply

    This was such an interesting podcast, and I want to make three points to start:

    First, I think the one-on-one format was very effective here. I have nothing against the panel discussions — I enjoy listening to them and participating from time-to-time as well, but at the risk of browning my nose too much, ME always boils down to John Larsen for me, and this was such a great display of John leading an interview and pulling out insights and perspectives that I don’t get from any would-be teachers on Sundays.

    Second, Consiglieri was INCREDIBLE. I am sure there are going to be several Mike-related comments here along the lines of “finally a TBM who…” blah blah blah. I totally dig Mike and love playing in the same sandbox with him, so I don’t want to slam the guy, but I have to say that the closet wanna-be beleiver in me found a lot of encouragement in Consiglieri — the willingness to discuss and articulate your points and receive John’s push back — it was terrific, commendable, and a bunch of other superlatives. I found the discussion about names especially interesting. I’m sure there will be more to say about those later on in this discussion thread and perhaps in another podcast at another time, but suffice it to say, I hope you come on to ME again. (that could be read a little strange…)

    Finally, I really liked the final point you made about reading the scriptures outside of the Mormon-spin zone. I did that several years ago with 1 Corinthians 15, and found to my great amazement that Paul (or whoever) had authored a nicely balanced, well organized binary — corruption vs. incorruption, death vs. immortality, things of earth vs. things of heaven, terestrial things vs. celestial — and I realized much to my amazement that in this perfectly constructed binary, there was no room for a third category. It wasn’t sun=celestial, moon-terrestrail, and stars=telestial — it was heaven=celestial, earth=terestrail, and I finally understood why I could never find any examples of the word ‘telestial’ outside of Mormonism — it was a completely fabricated word superimposed on a binary construct through JST to support the three degrees of glory — but it didn’t fit! Anyway, your epiphery (Michael Scott word) about the dual spirits that can claim us in the afterlife reminded me of this. And you are right — once you see work out something like this for yourself through pondering etc etc, you never see it the same way again.

    Thanks for this podcast — loved it! Until next time, bretheren, adieu.

  3. Swearing Elder Reply

    I almost — almost — made this the first Mormon Expression podcast I didn’t listen to. I just don’t have a lot of uses for apologetics; listening to the mental gymnastics involved in apologetics usually hurts my head. However, I’m glad I didn’t skip it.

    Consiglieri was really great. He had a lot of interesting things to say. The conversation didn’t convince me of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, but I feel I understand much better an informed believer’s point of view. For that I’m very grateful.

    At first I wondered why an apologist had to use an alias. Aren’t only the heretics and apostates supposed to hide their identities? Then about halfway through the podcast it became clear: This guy is entirely too reasonable. I don’t spend any time on the apologetic boards, but I wonder if this guy is considered too “liberal” by some of the McConkie-ite style Mormons boards.

    Great episode — thanks to John and Consiglieri!

  4. Swearing Elder Reply

    I almost — almost — made this the first Mormon Expression podcast I didn’t listen to. I just don’t have a lot of uses for apologetics; listening to the mental gymnastics involved in apologetics usually hurts my head. However, I’m glad I didn’t skip it.

    Consiglieri was really great. He had a lot of interesting things to say. The conversation didn’t convince me of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, but I feel I understand much better an informed believer’s point of view. For that I’m very grateful.

    At first I wondered why an apologist had to use an alias. Aren’t only the heretics and apostates supposed to hide their identities? Then about halfway through the podcast it became clear: This guy is entirely too reasonable. I don’t spend any time on the apologetic boards, but I wonder if this guy is considered too “liberal” by some of the McConkie-ite style Mormons boards.

    Great episode — thanks to John and Consiglieri!

  5. Obiwan Reply

    Hey, we actually agree on something Consig…. I ALSO think Lehi’s journey in the Old World is the most powerful “collection” of evidences yet related to the Book of Mormon.

    George Potters book “Lehi in the Wilderness – 81 Evidences” is simply amazingly detailed and shows that the whole story from Jerusalem to Bountiful actually exists and existed then. GREAT STUFF….

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Could it be because those places already existed and were well documented before Joseph translated the plates?

      As far as I’m concerned, the only *real* evidence that could corroborate the Book of Mormon would have to come from America – preferably North America.

      Isn’t it a bit strange that the entire stack of evidence falls apart once the story reaches The New World? Could it be because there was much less known about those continents in Joseph’s time?

      Joseph could not have known that mankind would make it this far in both time (he thought the end of the world, via Jesus’ second coming, would happen in his lifetime) and technological or scientific development. One living in Joseph’s time, with those beliefs, would naturally figure it completely safe to make up what ever they wanted about the history of the Americas and the land’s ancient inhabitants. Thinking: How would anybody ever be the wiser?

      Well, unfortunately we are the wiser and the Book of Mormon suffers greatly from it. Just ask Thomas Stuart Ferguson.

  6. Obiwan Reply

    Hey, we actually agree on something Consig…. I ALSO think Lehi’s journey in the Old World is the most powerful “collection” of evidences yet related to the Book of Mormon.

    George Potters book “Lehi in the Wilderness – 81 Evidences” is simply amazingly detailed and shows that the whole story from Jerusalem to Bountiful actually exists and existed then. GREAT STUFF….

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Could it be because those places already existed and were well documented before Joseph translated the plates?

      As far as I’m concerned, the only *real* evidence that could corroborate the Book of Mormon would have to come from America – preferably North America.

      Isn’t it a bit strange that the entire stack of evidence falls apart once the story reaches The New World? Could it be because there was much less known about those continents in Joseph’s time?

      Joseph could not have known that mankind would make it this far in both time (he thought the end of the world, via Jesus’ second coming, would happen in his lifetime) and technological or scientific development. One living in Joseph’s time, with those beliefs, would naturally figure it completely safe to make up what ever they wanted about the history of the Americas and the land’s ancient inhabitants. Thinking: How would anybody ever be the wiser?

      Well, unfortunately we are the wiser and the Book of Mormon suffers greatly from it. Just ask Thomas Stuart Ferguson.

  7. Obiwan Reply

    There is no difference between LDS in the Chapel and LDS on the Internet. LDS leaders when they are speaking seemingly “Hemispherically”, it is by inspiration and revelation due to “heritage” and “lineage”. They, nor mormons in the Chapel are thinking that the BOM took place on the entire continent. Of course, some less educated might think that, but, most mormons ARE reasonably educated, and understand well that the events took place likely in central/south america.

    I know for myself my entire life I’ve never thought “hemispherically” about the Book of Mormon, no matter how educated I was. These two ideas seem to me to come more from “misunderstanding” our leaders words usually by anti-mormons (and some mormons obviously), not that most have actually believed such.

    Plus, it’s normal for their to be a variety of views on issues that not much is known on. Not that there is a difference between LDS intellectuals and the average lay member and/or LDS leaders. It’s a strawman in my view.

  8. Obiwan Reply

    There is no difference between LDS in the Chapel and LDS on the Internet. LDS leaders when they are speaking seemingly “Hemispherically”, it is by inspiration and revelation due to “heritage” and “lineage”. They, nor mormons in the Chapel are thinking that the BOM took place on the entire continent. Of course, some less educated might think that, but, most mormons ARE reasonably educated, and understand well that the events took place likely in central/south america.

    I know for myself my entire life I’ve never thought “hemispherically” about the Book of Mormon, no matter how educated I was. These two ideas seem to me to come more from “misunderstanding” our leaders words usually by anti-mormons (and some mormons obviously), not that most have actually believed such.

    Plus, it’s normal for their to be a variety of views on issues that not much is known on. Not that there is a difference between LDS intellectuals and the average lay member and/or LDS leaders. It’s a strawman in my view.

  9. Jon Reply

    I wish you could have explained this “strawman” to my parents, Obiwan. And my Seminary teachers. And my Sunday School teachers. And more than a couple of Bishops.

    It’s good to finally realize that they didn’t actually teach me the things they taught me. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Obiwan (who seems to have flunked the Jedi Academy) is obviously terribly misinformed.

      I never understood the sudden shift from North American Indians (or Native Americans if you prefer) to Central/South Americans.

      How are so many apologists missing (ignoring?) the overwhelming evidence that Joseph and the early Saints always referred to the Indians as the Lamanites? Joseph even did this with his family BEFORE he received the Gold Plates and translated the BoM. One needs only to read his mother’s biography.

      For the Smith family and early Saints, Joseph’s recollections and visions about the Native Americans; how they lived, their wars, etc, were exactly the same (as real and relevant) as any of his prophesies and visions. Why do we downplay those teachings and sayings/stories now? How can we write them off as his own imagination, while other “revelations” are completely legit? They were a part of his prophetic teachings, so either he was wrong (and we can’t trust any of his revelations without scrutiny) or he was making it up.

      How is this not obvious?

      Force-insensitive ObiWan seems totally ignorant of the teachings of church leaders through the years, including my Primary teachers, Sunday School teachers, and parents, who always spoke of Native Americans as Lamanites.

      It’s in the culture whether he likes it or not. Pretending every half-educated Mormon “knows” that Native Americans aren’t really descendants of Lamanites, and that those people are in fact from much farther south, is completely ridiculous.

  10. Jon Reply

    I wish you could have explained this “strawman” to my parents, Obiwan. And my Seminary teachers. And my Sunday School teachers. And more than a couple of Bishops.

    It’s good to finally realize that they didn’t actually teach me the things they taught me. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Obiwan (who seems to have flunked the Jedi Academy) is obviously terribly misinformed.

      I never understood the sudden shift from North American Indians (or Native Americans if you prefer) to Central/South Americans.

      How are so many apologists missing (ignoring?) the overwhelming evidence that Joseph and the early Saints always referred to the Indians as the Lamanites? Joseph even did this with his family BEFORE he received the Gold Plates and translated the BoM. One needs only to read his mother’s biography.

      For the Smith family and early Saints, Joseph’s recollections and visions about the Native Americans; how they lived, their wars, etc, were exactly the same (as real and relevant) as any of his prophesies and visions. Why do we downplay those teachings and sayings/stories now? How can we write them off as his own imagination, while other “revelations” are completely legit? They were a part of his prophetic teachings, so either he was wrong (and we can’t trust any of his revelations without scrutiny) or he was making it up.

      How is this not obvious?

      Force-insensitive ObiWan seems totally ignorant of the teachings of church leaders through the years, including my Primary teachers, Sunday School teachers, and parents, who always spoke of Native Americans as Lamanites.

      It’s in the culture whether he likes it or not. Pretending every half-educated Mormon “knows” that Native Americans aren’t really descendants of Lamanites, and that those people are in fact from much farther south, is completely ridiculous.

  11. Scottie Reply

    GREAT podcast! Although I gotta disagree with John when he said that the stones for and against the BoM are balanced. The few “hits” don’t come anywhere CLOSE to the mountain of problems in the BoM.

    But, Consig, you did an amazing job! I’d love to see you become a panalist. I think you could articulate the LDS point of view very well.

  12. Scottie Reply

    GREAT podcast! Although I gotta disagree with John when he said that the stones for and against the BoM are balanced. The few “hits” don’t come anywhere CLOSE to the mountain of problems in the BoM.

    But, Consig, you did an amazing job! I’d love to see you become a panalist. I think you could articulate the LDS point of view very well.

  13. NightAvatar Reply

    I couldn’t put this one down and now it’s 1 am. I have to get up early tomorrow so I’ll be hating life then, but WOW was this one great! So much better than I expected by the topic.

    Thanks John for continually finding the great topics and people to interview!

    Consig: You are officially my fave SS teacher too. Cheers! 🙂

  14. NightAvatar Reply

    I couldn’t put this one down and now it’s 1 am. I have to get up early tomorrow so I’ll be hating life then, but WOW was this one great! So much better than I expected by the topic.

    Thanks John for continually finding the great topics and people to interview!

    Consig: You are officially my fave SS teacher too. Cheers! 🙂

  15. Joe Geisner Reply

    This is a great podcast. I always love discussions about the Book of Mormon. Thank you, John and “consiglieri”, for providing all of us with interesting and insightful comments. I agree completely with Glenn, John’s interviewing skills really shined in this podcast.

    I just have a couple of comments about the podcast and the Book of Mormon.

    “NHM” is very old tribal area near Sana (in Yemen, in the southwestern portion of the Arabian peninsula). It is called “Nehhm,” “Nehem,” “Nihm,” “Nahm,” or similar variants.

    The Book of Mormon word “Nahom” has amazingly similar words “Naham”, “Nahum”, and “Nehum” found in the Old Testament. The four words can be pronounced either the same or similar.

    In “New Light from Arabia on Lehi’s Trail,” S. Kent Brown on pages 72-75 discusses a number of sources available during Smith’s life that could account for the name Nahom. One of the most important sources is found in Carsten Niebuhr’s TRAVELS THROUGH ARABIA, published in 1792. Not only does Niebuhr have an entire section in volume two on Nehhm but he has a map with “NEHHM,” appearing on the eastern border of the mountains, is designated clearly near the east-center of this map, in larger-sized letters reserved for the major principalities. Prominent travel routes through and around Nehhm are shown conspicuously.

    One of the more important discussions about Nahom is in Dan Vogel’s “The Making of a Prophet” page 609, note 17.

    The proper names “Paanchi, Pahoran, and Pacumeni” and the possible Egyptian connection are all discussed in Ed Ashment’s essay in “New Approaches to the Book of Mormon” pages 343-344. The names have some real problems when trying to connect them to the Egyptian language.

    Thank you very much for the interesting podcast.

  16. Joe Geisner Reply

    This is a great podcast. I always love discussions about the Book of Mormon. Thank you, John and “consiglieri”, for providing all of us with interesting and insightful comments. I agree completely with Glenn, John’s interviewing skills really shined in this podcast.

    I just have a couple of comments about the podcast and the Book of Mormon.

    “NHM” is very old tribal area near Sana (in Yemen, in the southwestern portion of the Arabian peninsula). It is called “Nehhm,” “Nehem,” “Nihm,” “Nahm,” or similar variants.

    The Book of Mormon word “Nahom” has amazingly similar words “Naham”, “Nahum”, and “Nehum” found in the Old Testament. The four words can be pronounced either the same or similar.

    In “New Light from Arabia on Lehi’s Trail,” S. Kent Brown on pages 72-75 discusses a number of sources available during Smith’s life that could account for the name Nahom. One of the most important sources is found in Carsten Niebuhr’s TRAVELS THROUGH ARABIA, published in 1792. Not only does Niebuhr have an entire section in volume two on Nehhm but he has a map with “NEHHM,” appearing on the eastern border of the mountains, is designated clearly near the east-center of this map, in larger-sized letters reserved for the major principalities. Prominent travel routes through and around Nehhm are shown conspicuously.

    One of the more important discussions about Nahom is in Dan Vogel’s “The Making of a Prophet” page 609, note 17.

    The proper names “Paanchi, Pahoran, and Pacumeni” and the possible Egyptian connection are all discussed in Ed Ashment’s essay in “New Approaches to the Book of Mormon” pages 343-344. The names have some real problems when trying to connect them to the Egyptian language.

    Thank you very much for the interesting podcast.

  17. Brian Reply

    I thought John was fairly generous in granting Bullseyes. I thought that the Malkiyahu = Mulek was a pretty large stretch. The Malkiyahu to Malki was not to far, but to change Malki to Mulek, you have to change the vowels and move the consenants. That is like changing Jacob to Jubec. They start with the same letter, but other than that, they just don’t look or sound that similar.

    I agree that Lehi’s Journey is a weight in favor, although I don’t feel it is as overwhelming as Consig believes. These are little things that can help people who believe based on religious experience keep that faith in the face of what can be discouraging problems.

    I would like to thank John for being courteous even when he disagrees as it tends to keep solid guests from both sides coming back. It is also pleasant how easy it is to be nice to Consig, as he recognizes that other people can hold the opposite view and not be evil. It is such a nice point to start a discussion from.

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      It is also pleasant how easy it is to be nice to Consig, as he recognizes that other people can hold the opposite view and not be evil.

      Exactly. This is exactly the point I was making by referring to him as “reasonable” in my original post. And this is precisely why listening to Mike can be so painful.

  18. Brian Reply

    I thought John was fairly generous in granting Bullseyes. I thought that the Malkiyahu = Mulek was a pretty large stretch. The Malkiyahu to Malki was not to far, but to change Malki to Mulek, you have to change the vowels and move the consenants. That is like changing Jacob to Jubec. They start with the same letter, but other than that, they just don’t look or sound that similar.

    I agree that Lehi’s Journey is a weight in favor, although I don’t feel it is as overwhelming as Consig believes. These are little things that can help people who believe based on religious experience keep that faith in the face of what can be discouraging problems.

    I would like to thank John for being courteous even when he disagrees as it tends to keep solid guests from both sides coming back. It is also pleasant how easy it is to be nice to Consig, as he recognizes that other people can hold the opposite view and not be evil. It is such a nice point to start a discussion from.

    • Swearing Elder Reply

      It is also pleasant how easy it is to be nice to Consig, as he recognizes that other people can hold the opposite view and not be evil.

      Exactly. This is exactly the point I was making by referring to him as “reasonable” in my original post. And this is precisely why listening to Mike can be so painful.

  19. In The Back Reply

    Great podcast. I think these bullseyes would have resonated with me much more in my TBM days. Now they all seem like stretches.
    I have a problem with apologists and their approach to BoM issues. There ultimate response to the mountain of problems with the BoM is to say it is a matter of faith. At the same time they will fall all over themselves to latch on to any obscure theory or archeological find that can be construed to support the BoM’s historicity.
    Great conversation however. This is how all debates should be. A respectful, honest exchange of thought and ideas.

  20. In The Back Reply

    Great podcast. I think these bullseyes would have resonated with me much more in my TBM days. Now they all seem like stretches.
    I have a problem with apologists and their approach to BoM issues. There ultimate response to the mountain of problems with the BoM is to say it is a matter of faith. At the same time they will fall all over themselves to latch on to any obscure theory or archeological find that can be construed to support the BoM’s historicity.
    Great conversation however. This is how all debates should be. A respectful, honest exchange of thought and ideas.

  21. Glenn Reply

    Just one more thing I want to add. I decided to listen to this a second time as I am doing some traveling today for business. I was once again impressed with the general discussion, however I was a little dissapointed this time around that chiasmus was mentioned at least once, but was never set apart and explained as a bullseye. I was taught as a kid in seminary about chiasmus and came to view the mirrored parallel construction as a mark of divine authorship, or at least of unique ego-centric genius where the author’s main point sits dead center in the middle of this poetic construct. And even today I am open to the possibility of that unique ego-centric genius, if not also the possible divine authorship in any mirrored parallel chiasmatic construction that I see. I guess that’s cuz it’s the way I first learned about it as a kid in Seminary. Still, I was disappointed that it was not explained and set apart as a bullseye in this podcast, despite being mentioned at least once. But of course I am still generally impressed with the overall discussion after having listened to it again on this business trip for a second time. Just one more thing I wanted to add.

    Yoroshiku

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Yea, it was mentioned twice but dropped each time. Can John or consiglieri please explain how this is or isn’t a bullseye?
      Thanks!

      • John Larsen Reply

        Chiasmus is a big topic all and off its own with a long history in the Church. We will need to devote a whole episode to this.

        Besides, I think it is a very weak “bullseye”.

        • Glenn Reply

          John, if you do devote an entire episode to chiasmus, to ensure that the podcast is true you must attempt to do it all in chiasmus — like I did with the above question. How many of you noticed?

          • brandt

            Glenn, I noticed. And I think you might have a bit too much time on your hands to just crank out chiasmus…

            😉

        • Joseph Reply

          I agree with your assessment, John. A lot of rhetorical techniques (not just chiasmus) occur in a wide spectra of written and oral material from many different literary cultures. These techniques appear and propagate because they are useful for carrying info; they are not specific to individual cultures. Chiasmus is such a technique. It is not specific to a single culture; Joseph Smith could easily have taken it from the Bible-quoting, oral-sermonizing environment in which he grew up. It is more reasonable to assume this, in fact, than to think that he must have gotten it from imaginary ancients. A non-Mormon example would make this obvious. Would chiasmus in a comic book (say one about Conan the Barbarian) prove that the book was somehow linearly related to Hebrew religious tradition or some other, actual historical culture other than the one in which the comic originally appeared? No.

  22. Glenn Reply

    Just one more thing I want to add. I decided to listen to this a second time as I am doing some traveling today for business. I was once again impressed with the general discussion, however I was a little dissapointed this time around that chiasmus was mentioned at least once, but was never set apart and explained as a bullseye. I was taught as a kid in seminary about chiasmus and came to view the mirrored parallel construction as a mark of divine authorship, or at least of unique ego-centric genius where the author’s main point sits dead center in the middle of this poetic construct. And even today I am open to the possibility of that unique ego-centric genius, if not also the possible divine authorship in any mirrored parallel chiasmatic construction that I see. I guess that’s cuz it’s the way I first learned about it as a kid in Seminary. Still, I was disappointed that it was not explained and set apart as a bullseye in this podcast, despite being mentioned at least once. But of course I am still generally impressed with the overall discussion after having listened to it again on this business trip for a second time. Just one more thing I wanted to add.

    Yoroshiku

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Yea, it was mentioned twice but dropped each time. Can John or consiglieri please explain how this is or isn’t a bullseye?
      Thanks!

      • John Larsen Reply

        Chiasmus is a big topic all and off its own with a long history in the Church. We will need to devote a whole episode to this.

        Besides, I think it is a very weak “bullseye”.

        • Glenn Reply

          John, if you do devote an entire episode to chiasmus, to ensure that the podcast is true you must attempt to do it all in chiasmus — like I did with the above question. How many of you noticed?

          • brandt

            Glenn, I noticed. And I think you might have a bit too much time on your hands to just crank out chiasmus…

            😉

        • Joseph Reply

          I agree with your assessment, John. A lot of rhetorical techniques (not just chiasmus) occur in a wide spectra of written and oral material from many different literary cultures. These techniques appear and propagate because they are useful for carrying info; they are not specific to individual cultures. Chiasmus is such a technique. It is not specific to a single culture; Joseph Smith could easily have taken it from the Bible-quoting, oral-sermonizing environment in which he grew up. It is more reasonable to assume this, in fact, than to think that he must have gotten it from imaginary ancients. A non-Mormon example would make this obvious. Would chiasmus in a comic book (say one about Conan the Barbarian) prove that the book was somehow linearly related to Hebrew religious tradition or some other, actual historical culture other than the one in which the comic originally appeared? No.

  23. Chris Reply

    The difficulty with giving “bullseyes” to the book of mormon, is that I simply don’t believe that the parts of it that are getting all of this credit for lucky accuracy, came from the mind of joseph smith. One of the major reasons I pulled away from the church is all of the evidence for plagiarism and theft of ideas clearly and aptly demonstrated in Mormon Origins by palmer and other soources. I speculate that the ideas came from people who had more obvious connections and abilities to research of these areas. So I grant bulseyes…to the sources from which joe or pratt or rigdon stole the ideas.

    • Carey Reply

      What other books beside the Book of Mormon purport to be ancient scripture translated in the modern world. Is the Book of Mormon unique in its claim?

  24. Chris Reply

    The difficulty with giving “bullseyes” to the book of mormon, is that I simply don’t believe that the parts of it that are getting all of this credit for lucky accuracy, came from the mind of joseph smith. One of the major reasons I pulled away from the church is all of the evidence for plagiarism and theft of ideas clearly and aptly demonstrated in Mormon Origins by palmer and other soources. I speculate that the ideas came from people who had more obvious connections and abilities to research of these areas. So I grant bulseyes…to the sources from which joe or pratt or rigdon stole the ideas.

    • Carey Reply

      What other books beside the Book of Mormon purport to be ancient scripture translated in the modern world. Is the Book of Mormon unique in its claim?

  25. Jon Reply

    Even if we grant that Bountiful is the stretch of land along the Oman coast, the book of Mormon paints a rather large target in which to find Nahom. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of square miles, would fit the description of being “many days” south of Jerusalem and “nearly” west of Bountiful.

    I assume Smith had simply picked a name out of the Bible and fiddled with the spelling to get Nahom. Naham (1 Chron. 4:19), Nehum (Nehemiah 7:7) or Nahum (Nahum 1:1).

    Would it be terribly unlikely to pick a name at random out of the Bible, fiddle with the vowels, and find it somewhere in the target area? I don’t think so.

    I took an older map of the area (like this one: http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/Asia-anville-1794) and compared place names that were geographically close to “Nehem” to names from the Bible (being flexible with the vowels.) Just a few:

    Adnah / Adinah
    Ahuzam / Al Hazm / Hazm
    Harod / Harad
    Maadai / Maydi
    Adin / Aden
    Merab / Ma’rib
    Horeb / Harib
    Moab / Mabe
    Deiban / Dibon
    Rodda / Raddai
    Rahab / Rahab

    I think most of these locations fall within the same general target area that the Book of Mormon would permit. It seems to me that Smith could have just picked a name at random out of the Bible and stood a relatively decent chance that a name much like it would be found in about the right area. Not a good chance, to be sure, but the odds are almost certainly greater the odds than an angel told him to put a peep-stone in a hat where the name would magically appear.

  26. Jon Reply

    Even if we grant that Bountiful is the stretch of land along the Oman coast, the book of Mormon paints a rather large target in which to find Nahom. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of square miles, would fit the description of being “many days” south of Jerusalem and “nearly” west of Bountiful.

    I assume Smith had simply picked a name out of the Bible and fiddled with the spelling to get Nahom. Naham (1 Chron. 4:19), Nehum (Nehemiah 7:7) or Nahum (Nahum 1:1).

    Would it be terribly unlikely to pick a name at random out of the Bible, fiddle with the vowels, and find it somewhere in the target area? I don’t think so.

    I took an older map of the area (like this one: http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/Asia-anville-1794) and compared place names that were geographically close to “Nehem” to names from the Bible (being flexible with the vowels.) Just a few:

    Adnah / Adinah
    Ahuzam / Al Hazm / Hazm
    Harod / Harad
    Maadai / Maydi
    Adin / Aden
    Merab / Ma’rib
    Horeb / Harib
    Moab / Mabe
    Deiban / Dibon
    Rodda / Raddai
    Rahab / Rahab

    I think most of these locations fall within the same general target area that the Book of Mormon would permit. It seems to me that Smith could have just picked a name at random out of the Bible and stood a relatively decent chance that a name much like it would be found in about the right area. Not a good chance, to be sure, but the odds are almost certainly greater the odds than an angel told him to put a peep-stone in a hat where the name would magically appear.

  27. Carey Reply

    I do agree with your reasoning that to pick a name at random and have it be found in the right area would involve some element of chance where we could assign statical odds on whether would one we would be correct. After there are a finite number of names in the bible and a finite number of names in a given area at a given time, but you can’t assign odds to whether an angel told him to that name through the translation process. Either that is the way it happened or it isn’t.

  28. Carey Reply

    I do agree with your reasoning that to pick a name at random and have it be found in the right area would involve some element of chance where we could assign statical odds on whether would one we would be correct. After there are a finite number of names in the bible and a finite number of names in a given area at a given time, but you can’t assign odds to whether an angel told him to that name through the translation process. Either that is the way it happened or it isn’t.

  29. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Great Podcast!

    I think this is a great example of what John has always intended for the podcast to be. A congenial and intelligent discussion on the facinating topic that is mormonism.

    I hope Consigliari pays the show many more visits.

  30. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Great Podcast!

    I think this is a great example of what John has always intended for the podcast to be. A congenial and intelligent discussion on the facinating topic that is mormonism.

    I hope Consigliari pays the show many more visits.

  31. John Hamer Reply

    As Joe and Jon point out “Nahom” is not a bulls-eye.It hardly even rises to the level of coincidence. The Book of Mormon derives its names from a book that has Semitic sources, i.e., the King James Bible. Many of the names in the Book of Mormon are just plucked directly from the Bible, e.g., “Lehi” (Judges 25:9), Laban (Gen. 24-30), Lemuel (Prov. 31:1-9). Other names, however, use the Bible as their inspiration with alterations, e.g., “Jarom” (“Joram” 2 Sam. 8:10), “Omni” (“Omri” 1 Kings 16:16), “Nehor” (“Nahor” Gen. 11:22). “Nahom” easily fits into the latter category: “Nahum” is actually a book of Old Testament.

    It should come as no shock to us that Nahum, a Hebrew prophet in the Bible, has a Semitic name. It should therefore also come as no shock that there are places in Semitic-speaking countries that share that name, or at least its consonants (NHM). At random, I just now thought: they speak Arabic in Iraq, let’s see if there’s a NHM in Iraq. A quick Google search picks up a place called Nahum in Maysan province, immediately south of Al Amarah. In other words, if the Book of Mormon had said the Lehi and his party traveled past Babylon, there was another potential Nahom “bulls-eye” waiting in Mesopotamia! Another Google search shows that historically there was a town called “Nahem” in Lebanon, half-way between Tyre and Acre. If Joseph Smith had sent Lehi to America via Phoenicia that would have been another bulls-eye!

    Again, NHM is not a bulls-eyes; it’s not even noteworthy. Given one has the entire volume of a large, Semitic country in which to find a common Semitic root, we would be surprised not to find a place-name that is somehow similar to NHM.

  32. John Hamer Reply

    As Joe and Jon point out “Nahom” is not a bulls-eye.It hardly even rises to the level of coincidence. The Book of Mormon derives its names from a book that has Semitic sources, i.e., the King James Bible. Many of the names in the Book of Mormon are just plucked directly from the Bible, e.g., “Lehi” (Judges 25:9), Laban (Gen. 24-30), Lemuel (Prov. 31:1-9). Other names, however, use the Bible as their inspiration with alterations, e.g., “Jarom” (“Joram” 2 Sam. 8:10), “Omni” (“Omri” 1 Kings 16:16), “Nehor” (“Nahor” Gen. 11:22). “Nahom” easily fits into the latter category: “Nahum” is actually a book of Old Testament.

    It should come as no shock to us that Nahum, a Hebrew prophet in the Bible, has a Semitic name. It should therefore also come as no shock that there are places in Semitic-speaking countries that share that name, or at least its consonants (NHM). At random, I just now thought: they speak Arabic in Iraq, let’s see if there’s a NHM in Iraq. A quick Google search picks up a place called Nahum in Maysan province, immediately south of Al Amarah. In other words, if the Book of Mormon had said the Lehi and his party traveled past Babylon, there was another potential Nahom “bulls-eye” waiting in Mesopotamia! Another Google search shows that historically there was a town called “Nahem” in Lebanon, half-way between Tyre and Acre. If Joseph Smith had sent Lehi to America via Phoenicia that would have been another bulls-eye!

    Again, NHM is not a bulls-eyes; it’s not even noteworthy. Given one has the entire volume of a large, Semitic country in which to find a common Semitic root, we would be surprised not to find a place-name that is somehow similar to NHM.

  33. Mister IT Reply

    Wow! A True Believing Mormon who’s intelligent and articulate, as well as objective and willing to concede that other points of view may be just as legitimate and well formed as his own.

    And, even more surprising, a TBM who speaks of Mormon Critics and those who would take issue with his arguments in warm, respectful, non-adversarial tones and words!

    I’m impressed.

    Hopefully, FARMS, FAIR and the other LdS Apologist groups will learn from the “consiglieri” template and follow suit.
    (though I’m, candidly, not hopeful)

    “consiglieri” is a rare gem as well as an engaging and intriguing guest for the podcast. I hope to hear from him again.

    I really enjoyed this podcast. Candidly, I found flaw after flaw with his arguments however, I don’t want to spoil the moment so I’m getting Mr. “consiglieri” a “pass” for the time being . . .

    (Besides, the other posters have pretty much covered all the points that I saw so there’s not much to add)

  34. Mister IT Reply

    Wow! A True Believing Mormon who’s intelligent and articulate, as well as objective and willing to concede that other points of view may be just as legitimate and well formed as his own.

    And, even more surprising, a TBM who speaks of Mormon Critics and those who would take issue with his arguments in warm, respectful, non-adversarial tones and words!

    I’m impressed.

    Hopefully, FARMS, FAIR and the other LdS Apologist groups will learn from the “consiglieri” template and follow suit.
    (though I’m, candidly, not hopeful)

    “consiglieri” is a rare gem as well as an engaging and intriguing guest for the podcast. I hope to hear from him again.

    I really enjoyed this podcast. Candidly, I found flaw after flaw with his arguments however, I don’t want to spoil the moment so I’m getting Mr. “consiglieri” a “pass” for the time being . . .

    (Besides, the other posters have pretty much covered all the points that I saw so there’s not much to add)

  35. Rich McCue Reply

    Sounds like conference has made you a bit nostalgic John 😉 I can relate though… I have a lot of good memories from my time in the youth program… that said I still wouldn’t want to put my kids through worthiness interviews, misogynistic YM/YW lessons and the constant guilting around the law of chastity. In spite of the rhetoric from Salt Lake about how evil the world has become, at least where we live here in middle class Canada, life is good.

  36. Rich McCue Reply

    Sounds like conference has made you a bit nostalgic John 😉 I can relate though… I have a lot of good memories from my time in the youth program… that said I still wouldn’t want to put my kids through worthiness interviews, misogynistic YM/YW lessons and the constant guilting around the law of chastity. In spite of the rhetoric from Salt Lake about how evil the world has become, at least where we live here in middle class Canada, life is good.

  37. Tobin Reply

    Mmmm, I think we are talking apples and oranges here guys. There are Mormons who have expienced God in the flesh and that is why they are Mormon. In fact, I was a rather happy atheist at the time when I suddenly found myself a Mormon Deist. However, just because I’ve had that experience and know there is a God – doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned rationality nor do I buy everything that Mormon leaders say (better to rely on God and your own good sense instead). There is alot wrong with modern-day Mormonism which is rather obvious. But, as I said, there really is a huge difference between the two. Now, there are simple believers that can relatively easily become non-believers. Then there are those of us that really know and the only choice we have is to tell the truth or lie about it (those become perdition).

  38. KevBob Reply

    I really began to doubt the ol’ burning in the bosom when I discovered I could summon it at will. “Donuts are tastey” I would think to myself, and then ratify it by a burning in the bosom, just as “spiritual” and amazing as ever I thought God had sent me about the Book of Mormon.

  39. Jacob Brown Reply

    This was hard to listen too. Maybe because there wasn’t much new. I’m glad to hear a believing Mormon who is so understanding about the issues. I haven’t run into anyone like this in person–only on the Internet. I wish church was more open like this.

  40. Zèle Chyrème Reply

    Southern Arabia has been called since time immemorial “Happy Arabia.” Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabia_Felix As for “Naham,” it just means confort in Hebrew – and which we can find in the name Nehemiah “The Lord Conforts” – which sounds like an evidently appropriate name for a lush oasis for instance. As for names in general, it’s not like there has been a clean break between the histories of the Orient and modern Europe knowledge. There have been many historians, which have transmitted stories, names, and the such (e.g. Manetho, Berossos…the Bible of course…). And one would have to know what Salomon Spalding, along with his Dartmouth College comrades, including Ethan Smith, would have had access too.

  41. Jeff Reply

    I’m a little late but I have several points to make:
    First, the root NHM is relatively common whether in Semitic countries or America itself. In fact, one of the Spalding witnesses (though I do not subscribe to that theory) was named Nahum. As far as we can tell, and as John Hamer has pointed out, the names in the BOM were derived from known sources like the Bible.
    Second, the altars were written in South Arabian script where the root NHM refers to stone cutting, not comfort.The Hebrew word for comfort is “nacham” with a hard “h” unlike “nahom.” In fact, “nahom” is not a Hebrew word and is not known to be a real place.
    Third, the fact that a cemetery was nearby proves nothing. I think most tribal regions (a large region, not a place per se) had cemeteries.
    Fourth, the fact that it was located on a major trade route near a key junction proves nothing. Doesn’t it seem logical that any tribe would do something like that?
    Fifth, in the typical vague nature of the early books of the BOM, there is little reference to directional indicators, allowing the geography to be placed just about anywhere. Also, the region of NIHM (which is not the same as NAHOM) was populated by nature worshiping people. Why aren’t they mentioned? Did Lehi’s family just waltz right in and bury their dead in a populous place? That’s ludicrous.
    Sixth, apologists want us to accept that a group of Christian-like Jews who had spent their entire life in Jerusalem decided to leave and spend up to seven years in the Empty Quarter of Arabia. Really?
    Seventh, even with the NHM find, the geography is still far from perfect. While early models (like Nibley’s) had the problem of traveling across the Empty Quarter, the Kent Brown version stretches the limits of going nearly eastward.
    Eighth, it is very easy to cherry pick evidence for anything. UFOlogists (like Warren Aston, the BYU-researcher who pioneered the NHM geography), conspiracy theorists, etc find seemingly legitimate evidence all over the place. The fact that a common Semitic root was found in a Semitic country does not impress me at all. It seems far more likely that Joseph pulled Nahom from the Bible and got lucky. Hey, when he missed so much, he was bound to get something close to right!

  42. 27prg . Reply

    Anyone know how to get in touch with Consiglieri? Listened to this a second time and I have some points for him. Thanks!

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