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NWAF stands for New World Archaeological Foundation, an entity that was very active in the late 50s and 60s funding and conducting digs intended (it would seem) to lend support to the BoM, but things never really panned out. Interestingly, I found this list of NWAF publications posted at a BYU site. The name Thomas Stuart Ferguson comes up a lot in connection with NWAF--he was the moving force behind the organization but later became rather discouraged with the whole project.

It seems that the BMAF is stuck in time or behind the times when it comes to Book of Mormon apologetics.

We don't hear much about the Great White God or White Indians or Aztec legends at General Conference any longer. Elder Milton Hunter gave many talks in this vein. Elder Brewerton gave a talk in the October 1995 General Conference based upon these ideas.

Elder Wells's talk about Liahona legends and dreams must make some at FARMS cringe.

I notice Scot and Maurine Proctor, who run Meridian Magazine, were on the program, as was at least one other Meridian Magazine regular. For whatever that's worth . . .

"Otherwise, it's just an ad hoc and totally arbitrary determination."

As with determining the veracity of any other form of inspiration, really.

I agree with Nathan. It seems to me that the process for deciding whether a dream is divinely inspired or not would be the same as discerning whether an impression, prompting or thought was divinely inspired, so I'm not sure that a dream is any less reliable than a thought or idea that comes from the Holy Ghost. In terms of epistemology, it is difficult to validate or verify any of these things externally.

Nice point, Braden and Nathan. To turn it around, one might also say that a thought or idea is no more reliable than a dream in terms of figuring out whether it is "divine" or self-generated. And it is difficult to verify any of these externally. So what is an observer (limited to external verification) supposed to do with a GA, local leader, or family member who presents a dream, thought, or idea as divinely inspired?

"And it is difficult to verify any of these externally. So what is an observer (limited to external verification) supposed to do with a GA, local leader, or family member who presents a dream, thought, or idea as divinely inspired?"

Gosh, that's a toughie. For that matter, what am I supposed to do when someone drops an entire book in my lap, claiming it to be inspired (and translated by the power of God, no less)? Boy, if only there were a way that *I* could find out for myself if it were true... If only...

Okay Nathan, would your own dream in which you were assured that a GA's dream was divine be adequate confirmation? Would your dream be sufficient confirmation of a personal feeling or intuition? Would your own feeling or intuition be sufficient confirmation of a dream? It's not clear to me that a string of subjective impressions strengthens the case or clarifies the difficulty of determining when a dream is divine or personal.

Those are rhetorical queries--I'm not putting anyone on the spot. I think the popularity of the flourishing "evidences of the Book of Mormon" publishing industry suggests that people seek objective confirmations of their subjective impressions (in whatever form those impressions come), although the rhetoric of testimony frowns on overt reference to or reliance on objective evidences.

"Would your dream be sufficient confirmation of a personal feeling or intuition? Would your own feeling or intuition be sufficient confirmation of a dream? It's not clear to me that a string of subjective impressions strengthens the case or clarifies the difficulty of determining when a dream is divine or personal."

Then what we're talking about here is a lot more basic than dreams; it's simply the idea that one can be inspired or receive personal revelation in any form.

Nathan, I would agree. However, the question seems a little more manageable in the context of dreams than of prayer responses or personal revelation. It is much easier for a Mormon to consider rejecting a favorable dream as nevertheless just a personal dream than to consider rejecting a favorable prayer response as just a personal rather than a divine response. But my post was about dreams, not the broader personal revelation question.

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