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I've traded emails with Southerton, he sounds like the real thing. However, I'm doubtful of anyone's claim to be "unbiased" vis-a-vis Mormonism. I'll settle for someone who is simply informative, fair, and accurate. How his book stacks up is an open question until it is published.

You have a lot to say Ryan--I think you should head on over to Blogger and set up your own weblog (you'll feel like a pro in ten minutes). It will put a little sparkle in your life.

Thanks Dave, I may take you up on that. I do have my own website which I have been trying to grow lately, concerning Utah/LDS issues. But it is a lot of overhead. The blog thing sounds cool.

As for Simon's bias. I am sure he has some bias, everyone does. I am just saying that he has less bias then most, being that he was a high ranking member of the LDS church, a Temple member and an LDS bishop, and former missionary.

Simon's reasons for leaving the church had much weight laying on his research about Lamanite DNA.
When he left the LDS church, he left in good standings.

^Thats all I meant when I said he has less bias.

As for his statements, I really hope you get a chance to hear his words out of his mouth with that link that I gave you. He makes some very intelligent and profound statements in the interview that I posted.

Just a brief comment, one possibility with the script is that it was a kind of cipher based script. While not paralleling exactly the anthon transcript they do offer various similar styles and apparently were fairly commonly used by merchants around the time of Christ for hiding information. I've long wondered if the "seal" on the Book of Mormon was encryption / cipher and not some piece of metal.

Clarkglobe; the idea of it being encryption is a good theory. I have read much about the Biblical encryption theories as well.

But. Why would it need to be encrypted if it was so diligently guarded by the angel Moroni?

The only person that handled it, was the only person who was supposed to have received it; Joseph Smith.

Joseph apparently didn't know any foreign languages, so what would be the point of making it unreadable with a language that you say mechants used?

We are not talking about merchants anyway, we are talking about ancient Jewish prophets and records of ancient Jewish culture. What other scriptures were encoded with Reformed Egyptian besides LDS scriptures?

None, Jews didn't like the Egyptians, because they were persecuted and enslaved by the Egyptians for so long.
Jews were patient, strong, and proud people. It is highly unlikely that they would pollute their scriptures through a gentile language, from a gentile people who harmed them so badly.

Presumably for an angel it wouldn't be necessary. However if the plates were historic plates compiled by Mormon, Moroni and then the small plates they might be. Further the sealed portion were the writings of the brother of Jared and possibly those were in a different script.

The reason merchants is brought up is because there are several fairly persuasive arguments for Lehi coming from the merchant class. These people aren't purely Jewish it would appear. To assume that this encoding was normal seems a mistake. Rather it may well be something unique that Lehi and Nephi did. To draw assumptions of Judaism from this (or vice versa) may be misleading.

While the Jews often didn't like the Egyptians it is also the case that there were rather large Jewish settlements in Egypt. Also, as I said, I'm not at all convinced that "reformed egyptian" means much. As for Jews not "polluting scriptures" you might wish to look up the Jewish groups at Al Elephanti and other locations in Egypt. There was a lot of cross fertilization. I think Nibley pushes it much too far (especially since some of the groups were very syncrestic). But I think assuming Jewish "purity" at this point is misleading. I suspect that happened more after the exile while Lehi is from before. Even in the exile the Jews borrowed a lot of Babylonian notions and even scripture, as some of the Psalms attest.

Clark, thanks for the clarification.

As for the idea that Lehi possibly came from Merchant class, would that be a rather unique occurrence?

I am no Eyptian historian. I just assume that after 1000 years of being in bondage to Egyptians, that it would be considered offensive, if not sacreligious to use Egyptian to write holy documents with instead of Hebrew.

There are vast differences in the languages. Hebrew which uses words unique to it's culture to explain the mysteries of God and the Word that He speaks/spoke to them. Words used to describe things unique to the Jewish/Hebrew culture.

For them to use Egyptian just seems like it would subtract from the message, because the culture was so different. Beyond the little grudge that may be there, it just seems like a much less effective way to record the Word of God.

The merchant class theory is actually pretty old - going *way* back to the 1950's. I think it came out of people looking at the documentary hypothesis and suggesting that Lehi may have had ties to the northern kingdom as well as explaining his knowledge. It's been a while since I read the paper. I think it was the Sidney Sperry, but I may be wrong. (I may be slightly wrong on the date as well -- but it was definitely pre-FARMS)

"I just assume that after 1000 years of being in bondage to Egyptians, that it would be considered offensive, if not sacreligious to use Egyptian to write holy documents with instead of Hebrew."

As I said, this doesn't appear to be the case anymore than writing in Greek was offensive. Certainly there were people who felt that way, but the place of foreign thought was such that the typical problem was too much adoption of foreign ideas. A problem even during the OT narrative, you might recall.

I would think that considering the politics at the time, that Greek would probably be less offensive then Egyptian, but still Hebrew would be more preferrible then both being it was the language of the prophets.

Does anyone have any links to studies of archeological digs, that reveal any Hebrew or "Reformed Egyptian" typography?

I've seen a picture of a guy standing next to a stone that appeared to be some sort of egyptian type of glyphs. But there was not study or archeological information that went with it. It looked kind of like a hoax to me. But it was said to be found in South America.

Does anyone else have any more info?

I don't think any of the careful LDS folks claim to know for sure what reformed Egyptian is. All the purported archaeology are most likely late or frauds. There are a few that are still "up in the air" but I'm dubious of them as well.

Regarding the script, part of the reason for it was its efficiency. So presumably Greek would be no better than Hebrew for that and there is no surity that Lehi knew Greek.

I've considered the DNA question for awhile. It looks bad for the Mormon Church on the surface.

I do wonder though if we are making things too hard. From what I have read Haplogroup X is found in the Indians around the Great Lakes area. Haplogroup X is found among Israelites. The Book of Mormon most likely happened in the Great Lakes area since that is where the Book of Mormon plates were said to have been found.

Southerton claims that Haplogroup X came over 14,000 years ago. Men weren't even on the earth 14,000 years ago if you believe what the Church teaches.

The Lamanites are found right where they are supposed to be, and it ain't Mesoamerica. They are in Western New York. They may have spread out from there and mixed with Asian descended groups, but the Book of Mormon has perfectly targeted where the people with a chance of descending from Israelites should be.

The Nephites and Lamanites lived around the Great Lakes. Anyone looking anywhere else is simply wasting their time. FARMs is wasting a lot of the Church's money.

Just to clarify, with respect to the notion of pre-Adamites, the church has no official position. Quite a few GAs including James E. Talmage believed in pre-Adamites. Others, such as Joseph F. Smith did not.

My understanding is there is an official letter from the First Presidency authored by Joseph F. Smith that indicates we don't believe in pre-Adamites. Adam was the first man. If we accetp that (and more and more I do) then there is no way there were Indians with Haplogroup X in North America 14,000 years ago no matter what the scientists try to tell us. The Lamanites and Nephites were in the Great Lakes Region. Problem solved.

You might wish to read the following:

"After receipt of this latter communication the Presidency carefully reviewed the papers which had been submitted to the Council of the Twelve, and after prayerful consideration decided that nothing would be gained by a continuation of the discussion of the subject under consideration.

http://eyring.hplx.net/Eyring/faq/evolution/FP1931.html

The statement made by Elder Smith that the existence of pre-Adamites is not a doctrine of the Church is true. It is just as true that the statement: "There were not pre-Adamites upon the earth", is not a doctrine of the Church. Neither side of the controversy has been accepted as a doctrine at all. "

For some interesting other quotes see:

http://www.libertypages.com/clark/00011.html#6

ΒΆ21 The discovery of a rare haplogroup X with apparent linkages to the Near East sparked the interest of some Latter-day Saints despite posing considerable difficulty for the chronology and geography of the BoMor. The timing of the entry of haplogroup X predates the events of the BoMor by thousands of years. The distribution of X in America challenges both the traditional hemispheric geography of the BoMor and the more recent limited geography in Central America posited by researchers associated with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). X neither appears spread across the American continents nor in a selected region in Central America.[54] A recent FARMS editorial noted the association of haplogroup X with "European-like" characteristics by some observers and suggested that haplogroup X "may not be the last new haplogroup to be winnowed from the residual 'other' category." The editorial points to the possibility of haplogroup H (common among Europeans) among Maya Indians as an example of the complexity of the scientific data and a caution against simplistic interpretations.[55] While the editorialist's warning against hasty conclusions is a worthy one, most geneticists continue to attribute the occasional presence of European haplogroups H and J and African haplogroup L in contemporary Native populations to recent admixture with European and African immigrants.[56] In the most recent research Miroslava V. Derenko and colleagues have identified the presence of haplogroup X among Altaians from South Siberia. This newest finding confirms the ancient route of a branch of the X matrilineage across Asia, through Siberia, and to the New World.[57] Ultimately, the existence of haplogroup X does not substantiate the BoMor account of ancient American history.

I found the above at this link:
http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:MMp83RwusLUJ:mormonscripturestudies.com/bomor/twm/lamgen.asp+Haplogroup+X+Jewish&hl=en

Showing that people in South Siberia show the same gene, making it less then exclusive to Europeans or Isrealis. Native American DNA have been said for years to come from Siberia and Mongolia. So that lines up with the current understanding of the origins of these people.

Very interesting fact though. I plan on following this research.

My approach to this is very simple. We have the Book of Mormon. God has told me that it is true. The Book of Mormon locates the Hill Cumorah in New York State. So the Lamanites and Nephites lived in the Great Lakes Region.

Now we have scientists telling us that Haplogroup X which is shared by some Israelis appearing in an area around the Great Lakes, right where the Book of Mormon says it ought to be. They believe in evolution and a long history of man. I don't and I don't believe that is what the scriptures teach. So I don't believe that Haplogroup X was introduced into the Americas 14,000 years ago like some scientists say in their attempt to explain away the Book of Mormon.

I don't claim that my opinion meets the standards of science. Nor do I care if it does. There is something beyond science.

We are really talking about "Losing the Lost Tribe".. The book that this discussion is based on is a scientific book. There is good reason to believe Simon Southerton, and not because he is a well known microbiologist, but because he is a former Mormon, former Mormon bishop, and former Mormon missionary.
He sacrificed everything he had grown to love (the LDS Church) to present his findings about DNA.

I have to give him enough credit for that. He is not you good ol' anti-Mormon. He is someone who fit in with the Mormon church, dedicated his life to the Mormon church, and loved the Mormon church.

I too am a Mormon; born, blessed and baptised as one.

But I find no truth in the Mormon church. Just a twisted version of it.

BTW- The Halogroup X gene is not just found in Isrealis, but in South Siberians.

Siberia is where some of the Native American people have been said to come from since this all started.

Finding the gene in Europe doesn't prove much. Because it is already located in the place of originally thought to be origin of these people.

That is definately the start of an all new search I would think.

Did the Israelis go to Siberia, or did the Siberia go to Israel?

Where did the gene come from to end up in both areas? Or does it simply exist in both by default?

Ryan, you're preaching again. Second and last warning. If you want to preach, go get your own weblog. As a functional ex-Mormon, I would think you'd be hypersensitized to that sort of thing.

Southerton is a scientist, so I imagine his book is presented like scientists present things, presenting evidence in support of a hypothesis. His being an ex-Mormon might provide insight into some aspects of Mormon belief and history, but is irrelevant to his evidence and argument. His being ex-Mormon is about as relevant to the concepts he is presenting as his being Australian.

I think it's a little naive for a functional ex-Mormon to announce that Southerton must be telling the truth because he is an ex-Mormon. If it helps, consider how you would evaluate the statement by a believing Mormon that some Mormon apologist must be telling the truth because she is a Mormon. Sounds silly, doesn't it?

I agree that Southerton is a man of conviction and believe that people should do what they believe is right. I respect him for that.

I think it is next to impossible to use science to verify the Book of Mormon. It seems to me that it is "beyond history" and our only approach to the Book of Mormon can be one of faith. So when I see Haplogroup X appearing in the region where I believe the Book of Mormon peoples lived, then I guess my faith kicks in and says, "Yes, that raises the plausibility of the Book of Mormon!" It doesn't prove it, and I frankly don't expect the Book of Mormon will ever be proven, just like the resurrection of Christ can't be proven even though I believe it happened.

Dave, I didn't get the "First Warning".. Sorry about that. I have opinions too, and it seems that many here expressing their opinions could be interpreted as "preaching" their opinions.

Anyway, I recently read a great article studying the Book of Mormon, and the origins of language in the Book of Mormon.

For instance, there are many New Testiment verbage and quotes found in the Book of Mormon, as well as exclusively Greek and Latin terms found in the Book of Mormon, that could not have possibly been "translated" from the "Reformed Egyptian" that it was said to have been written in.

Reasons: The New Testiment was not written until well after the Book of Mormon was written, and same with the languages.

More interesting is the reference to metals, and glass windows, and other references to technology that didn't exist in the Americas at that time, mostly found in Ether.

Since I can't post the document here, I have a link to it:

http://behindzioncurtain.com/BB/index.php?s=7dade05218ead8a38ac96d427d3d4e5f&showtopic=13

That link didn't fit in the page apparently, so here is a different route to it:

http://www.behindzioncurtain.com/translator.doc

I am not the author of the article, nor have I done even close to as much research as it would have taken to make this document. But the great thing, is that the author is a Greek teacher at a University, and has given references for everything that he wrote.

Good stuff if you have the time to read all of it.

Jeff Lindsay seems like a nice guy. He's probably a great dad and husband, and he's obviously sincere. The church obviously means a lot to him. He probably even believes that the fact that the church, on its official website, posted a link to his article, doesn't really imply any kind of endorsement. I mean, we can believe anything, can't we? So, why not just let him believe?

For people like Bro. Lindsay, there - literally - is no, and could never be, such thing as disconfirming evidence of the church's fundamental claims. This is because at root, his isn't an evidentiary position; it is an epistemological one. He denies it is possible to "know" the Book of Mormon is not what it claims.

As a scientist he should know that no theory (e.g., Joseph Smith found ancient plates and translated them) is verifiable, without it being falsifiable, too - but he is still a human being, and human beings want, or need, to believe - and we tend to render certain beliefs unfalsifiable. We all create what psychologist Daniel Goleman calls "lacunas", or blind spots, where we literally cease to be able to see proof that our most cherished beliefs are not based in reality, but without ever noticing we are doing it.

Still, there's a part of me that would like Jeff Lindsay and the like to prove me wrong. What would have to be true (and how would we know it), for the Book of Mormon to NOT be it claimed?

I had a discussion recently on a message board related to Mormon beliefs.

A statement was made; If someone claimed that an Enlish Dictionary was actually a Spanish dictionary, because it actually contains words in it that are found in the Spanish language. Would it truly mean that the English dictionary IS actually a Spanish dictionary?

Belief is no qualification for proof.

Greetings to "Me," whoever you are. I'm not sure how Jeff Lindsay figures into this thread. He's plainly a straight-up LDS apologist, but he's got a weblog, indicating an interest and willingness to interact with the Bloggernacle and Mormons across the entire spectrum. Furthermore, he has been polite and respectful in every exchange or comment I've read. I think you're off base in trying to psychologize him or suggest he's discussing his religious views any differently than anyone else I see running a weblog.

I've not commented since it seems these charges are fairly old and have quite reasonable answers. I'm not interested in the apologetic / ex-mormon back and forth that many enjoy so I've been largely quiet.

I'd just point out though that whenever vague notions of what constitutes science are brought up in these matters, they often are wrong or at best misleading. That's true when apologists offer a too strong reliance on vague notions of "paradigm" or when critics offer vague and misleading notions of verification or falsification. (And the somewhat odd claim of the relationship between the two) I don't know why, but when these vague appeals to philosophy of science get invoked, I find it quite funny.

I haven't found any good LDS apologetics in answer to most of these questions anywhere, not even FARMS can touch on most of these answers with the slightest of verifiable fact or suggested/completed research.

But if you have a good source, that specifically touches on these very facts presented in the document that I listed, I would love to get to them.

Preferribly a message board where the items can be discussed.

Thanks in advance!

This might have already been noted, but there is a link from my page (sorry, shameless, I know) to an article at FARMS about mtDNA, which I thought was fabulous.

Just FYI.

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=312&mp=T

is a really great article on mtDNA and the Book of Mormon.

Great thoughts!

Ryan, most of the comments and links you are posting are generic points that get recycled through apologetics forums and ex-Mo boards about once a month--there's plenty said on both sides. It's not like there's much new we can tell you. I don't buy a lot of the LDS apologist responses, but there is plenty of it out there so I'm not sure what you mean by "I haven't found any good LDS apologetics in answer to most of these questions." Go chat with Jeff over at Mormonity (link on my Weblogs list), he'll talk your ear off on this stuff.

As Dave said, there are lots of discussions on these things. Since I'll make a strong wager that you aren't likely to accept any response, no matter how robust, one must ask, "what is the point of the discussion?" It really is akin to apologists who go around saying, "I haven't found any good anti-Mormon stuff for a long time." The focus is on the battle and not the learning.

To aid you in your quest though, let me just suggest that perhaps your view of how a translation proceeds is a tad too restrictive. I had an entry along those lines relative to a translation of Umberto Eco a week or so ago.

If you want a message board where you can bash back and forth concerning such matters, I'd suggest ZLMB. I don't know how many Mormons still frequent it. It used to have a lot but I think most got bored and stopped reading. (I've not read it regularly for a long time)

http://pub26.ezboard.com/bpacumenispages

As none of the present comments are adding to the discussion of Southerton's book or the article previewing it, I'm going to close this comment thread.

Blogging 101: Comments relate to the post or the discussion. Lengthy remarks on general topics and advertisements for one's favorite websites are best posted on one's own weblog or website.

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