Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Favorite Anti-Mormon

Previously: Why Our Scriptures Need An Overhaul

Unexpected circumstances recently took me from our home in Sandpoint, Idaho all the way back to Utah, and while I was in Salt Lake City I was the guest on Shawn McCraney's live-streaming telecast, "Heart of the Matter."

Shawn McCraney and I had never met in person prior to the night of the telecast, but we have communicated with each other by phone and email a few times over the past decade. What struck me as I watched the telecast later was the realization that here I was having a perfectly enjoyable conversation with a man that only a dozen years ago I would have shunned as my enemy.

Shawn and I have a few differences that in the past I would have felt divided us irrevocably. For instance, I embrace the Book of Mormon. Shawn does not. I believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Shawn does not.

Shawn has, in fact, devoted a good portion of his life attempting to rescue believing Mormons from what he feels is their delusions. As a formerly devout latter-day Saint himself, Shawn is intimately familiar with the history and doctrines of the church, and he not only rejects them, he vociferously denounces the entire religion as fraudulent. So you can understand why, when I first came across Shawn McCraney on the internet, I considered him a traitor to the faith -as indeed many active latter-day saints still do today. Yet when Shawn and I finally met in person we embraced each other as brothers.

Why is that?

Because the thing that unites Shawn and I is more powerful than that which divides us. We share an abiding love for one another because we both embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. And that, I can tell you, easily overcomes any religious differences or dogmas. For those who share a unity in Christ, Denominational differences can easily be set aside. They are simply not that relevant.

I happen to believe that the core fundamentals of what we call "Mormonism" are true and valid, but that many of those truths revealed through Joseph Smith have since been warped, corrupted, or outright ignored by those who assumed authority over the church after Joseph's death. The real traitors to the faith were Joseph Smith's purported friends who considered "authority" the ultimate determinant of what is important to the religion, rather than focusing on the pure word of God. After Joseph's death they lied about Joseph Smith when it served their own purposes. They lied about the things Joseph adamantly opposed, and they lied when they claimed Joseph passed his authority on to them.

Today the LDS Church is led by descendants of those original usurpers, men every bit as convinced of their divine right to ownership of the religion as were Caiaphas and Annas in their day.

So Shawn McCraney and I have something in common after all. We are both convinced that religious dogma will not save; only Jesus saves. And any church that requires its members to profess fealty to the leaders of that church is leading those members astray.

In my interview, I tell how the LDS Church today is actively disciplining faithful members who refuse to bow the knee to Church leadership. Members who testify of a desire to "become closer to Christ" are, in the eyes of Church leadership, using "code words" that mark them as being on the road to apostasy. Anyone who admits to following the teachings of the Book of Mormon too closely is at risk of being disfellowshiped or excommunicated.

These days it is not people like Shawn McCraney who are driving Mormons out of the church. The ones responsible for the exodus today are the leaders of LDS Inc themselves. Like the high priests in Jesus' day, they falsely teach the people that they are the ultimate authority and that safety is only assured if you "keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church."

This is something Jesus never taught. It is false doctrine. Our eyes should be riveted on Jesus Christ and Him only. Anyone who teaches contrary to that is on the high road to apostasy, and will lead you astray.

I very much enjoyed the time I spent in the cheery company of Shawn McCraney. There is something very uplifting about being in fellowship someone with whom we share the unity of Christ.  The person I was a dozen years ago would have thought Shawn McCraney was my enemy. Now I know he is my brother. I really love this guy.

You can watch the one hour interview by going to the Heart of the Matter website, or right here:




Update:
Here is a link to a blog post relevant to the conversation Shawn and I had together:
The Refiner's Fire

And here is where you can find evidence that the Book of Mormon took place in North America, including the latest archaeology, DNA research, etc:
http://bookofmormonevidence.org/

By way of correction, at about the 12:10 mark in the interview, I incorrectly stated that the Documentary History of the Church had been doctored by Joseph Smith. What I meant to say was that it had been doctored by Brigham Young in order to put words in Joseph Smith's mouth that Joseph never said.  You can read more about that here.  

By the way, I am well aware that I talked and talked and talked too much in that interview, so you don't have to point that out to me. My wife already has.

                                                                    *****

Announcements:
I mentioned above that I was unexpectedly called to Utah. Connie's aunt had died a few months ago, and someone needed to go down there and retrieve the possessions in the name of the family. Aunt Mary Lou had taken out a reverse mortgage on the house she lived it, so the property was being reposessed by the bank. But the contents of the house belong to Connie and her siblings, and though there wasn't much of value, we brought back what shoes, clothing, and blankets we could here to Northern Idaho. Our fellowship is preparing a sort of "Bishop's Storehouse" of goods we hope to make available to those in need during the coming days, so we had permission from Connie's siblings to donate anything we could find of value for that purpose.

I'm mentioning this only because I owe a great debt of gratitude for all those who showed up to assist me in sorting through the stuff and helping to rescue it. Without your assistance everything would have wound up in a landfill once the house was foreclosed upon. These were all the worldly goods and family mementos of Connie's deceased grandparents as well as her uncle and aunt, all now passed. She was heartbroken at the prospect that everything that ever meant anything to her family would soon be junked.

So to those kind people who showed up to assist me, a very gracious "thank you." Your help meant a lot to me, and the fact that I had never met any of you in person (aside from the three friends who came down from Sandpoint) just seems miraculous. It's hard to fathom that so many who have never met me would be so ready to give of their time. So again I thank you, Connie thanks you, and Connie's sister and two brothers also thank you for saving their family's meager possessions from ending up in the trash for all time.

And best of all, some good people who are in need of something to wear and keep them warm will one day have what they need because of your kind deeds. So I also thank you in advance on their behalf.

56 comments:

Tom Bartlett said...

Rock, you are just another of the many breakouts of the Mormon church. BOM is a fake pure and simple.

Anthony J Davis said...

The BofM as counterfeit is just unacceptable Tom have you read from 1 Nephi to Moroni? Or perhaps did your church tell you that Joseph was a character of bad rapport? My testimony is that the Brighamites.Did destroy pure Mormonism...To the degree that we are starting to rebuild with the help of the Lord and his humble servants of which Rock and Denver SnufferJr.are just 2!Even though you don't have to believe anything I hope that even if you think Joseph was clever enough with the various people who were his scribes and associates to make up the Nephite civilization to maybe give the BofM 1 more shot❣

Daniel Lima said...

I admire Rock's sincerity and love for Mormonism. But the Book of Mormon is just not what the Church or even Joseph preached it is. It is not a historical record. Scripture yes, because people believe in it, but a record of God's dealings with an ancient civilization it is not.

Brian W said...

Rock,

I wanted to mention an inspired version scripture reference that clarifies the "no man hath seen God at any time" reference posed by a questioner in your video.

JST, 1 John 4:12

12 No man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

I love your perspective and the respect you show even to those who have different opinions than yourself. I count you as a brother and friend regardless of which denominations we do/don't choose to affiliate with.

Keep up the fight against ignorance and apathy!

John Scott Peterson said...

Rock,

Excellent job as usual. I share your belief that someone believing in Jesus trumps any religion. I also believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet sent by God to demonstrate that anyone can speak with Jesus and get their truth directly from Him.

One thing I would ask anyone who wants to proclaim the untruthfulness of the Book of Mormon, why disparage a book that states on its title page that "Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting Himself to all nations."
An attack on the Book of Mormon to me is not about the truthfulness of a church. Criticism of the Book of Mormon is at some level anti-Christ.

I would not want to find myself on the wrong side of an issue that created doubt about the divinity of Christ, but that's just me.

Keep up your service Rock, I look forward to all your posts, and thank you for all your prior words.

John Scott Peterson

DeeLyn said...

The BoM is a wonderful and even an amazing book, filled with inspiring stories, ideas and many truths, like many books written by religious men and women in the past. But it's the falsehoods in the BoM that are the problem for they lead people away from Christ and stories that couldn't be true and not written by true prophets.

For Christ was very clear that we could discern true revelation and true prophets by the fact that they only teach his commandments and not things that persuade people to do opposite Christ's commandments.

False scripture and false prophets usually teach mostly truth to get people to believe in them, but then mix in falsehoods that overall lead people astray. Joseph and the BoM do and did teach many great truths, but it's the false things they teach or do that determine if they are from God or not.

If people just viewed & used the BoM for the good it teaches and acknowledged the falsehoods that teach contrary to Christ in it like all other books out there, and realized it was not from true prophets or God, then it would be great, but because people take it to be all or mostly true and from God, people tend to accept the falsehoods in it too and thus it turns people away from Christ more than brings people to him.

If people would just stick to the 4 Gospels in the New Testament instead of anything else coming from so called prophets, including the Old Testament, or the rest of the NT, or books like the BOM, D&C, etc. then people would be far better off for they would only focus on the supposed words of Christ and try to understand them and what is true or false in the Gospels, they would not get so off track, as they do reading or believing the writings, ancient or modern, of false prophets who mingled alot more error with the truth.

The words of Christ in the NT are the only true scripture we have, since it came from Christ himself and not from some guy who claimed it came from Christ. It's like believing Brigham when he quotes Joseph Smith rather than believing Joseph's own words. Joseph's own words are going to be alot more true than what Brigham said he said. Same with people quoting Christ or saying they speak for him, whether it was Joseph, Paul or Moses, etc.

MrHFMetz said...

Well Brother Rock, that was an interesting interview; thanks for it, also to Shawn McCraney for inviting you on his program.
The awakening among the Latter-day Saints that you talk about is now an ongoing proces that can not be stopped anymore. Just the other day I listened to an interview by John Dehlin (Mormon Stories podcast nr 705) on the contraction of the church in Europe and in particular the Netherlands (of which I am a personal witness). I advise people not to leave if they feel they have been misled, but to start their own investigation, because there is so much truth in Mormonism yet to be unveiled by personal research.
People who doubt the divine authority of the Book of Mormon for instance have not done their homework properly. I suggest they read https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng That is a nice essay for the born-again Mormon to begin with; good luck.

The Doctor said...

Deelyn:

Please give me some examples of the falsehoods in the BoM you are referring to.

dx said...

Sorry, but Shawn McCraney is a nutjob. He buys into any anti-Mormon garbage that he can and he's often belligerent about it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, I'm often called a nutjob myself, dx, so I know how it feels.

dx said...

I wouldn't call you a nutjob, Rock. However, I think McCraney used you to bolster his anti-Mormon thesis. They are excited by anything that undermines the LDS church and totally reject every part of it; whereas, you and I lament the problems and wish a return to the fundamentals it was built on.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, dx, I take a different view. I maintain that many of the good Christians who have rejected the Book of Mormon have done so because they have incomplete information, or the Church has fed them a warped view of the faith that caused them to accept falsehoods as essential to the faith.

A couple of areas we touched on briefly were the Church's official position that Joseph Smith initiated polygamy, or that the Book of Mormon took place in MesoAmerica.

Once one considers that the Book of Mormon people lived in North America as Joseph Smith always maintained, all kinds of problems such as horses and DNA simply go away. Not to mention the ridiculous assertion that there must have been two hill Cumorahs.

When people take the time to take another look at the theology introduced by Joseph before Brigham and his successors mucked it up, things are seen in a whole new light.

I think, then, that we have an obligation to disabuse our fellow Christians of those things that led them to abandon the core fundamentals of Mormonism in the first place, and reassess what they think they know. So I welcome any opportunity for discussion with those who have been hostile to the beliefs I embrace, because you never know who you may reach. A closer examination of one's fixed beliefs may result in a change of heart now and then.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Besides, dx, my Shawn was very respectful of my beliefs, even though I and everyone in the room fully understood he disagreed with a lot of them. It was a very fruitful dialogue as far as I was concerned. If Shawn McCraney is a nutjob, as you assert, he showed no signs of it that evening. He seemed sane enough to me.

Dave P. said...

Oh, but Rock, didn't you know that in the eyes of many people on either end of the spectrum, we're all nutjobs if we don't conform 100% to their views?

MC said...

Rock,

Nice to see two people with different view points come together in the spirit of Christian brotherhood. While I think that Shawn McCraney and those like him do far more harm than good, I can respect that they are at least coming from a position of trying to "rescue" Mormons from what they believe is a cult and bring them to what they believe is the true Christian religion. Yes they do way more harm than good, but at least they aren't as spiritually destructive as the Exmormon atheists on Reddit and elsewhere, that not only destroy people's faith in the Book of Mormon and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, but destroy people's faith in God and his son Jesus Christ altogether.

On a different note, have you ever looked at Andean Peru and Chile as the land of Nephites? From what I can tell that is the only location on Earth that fits all the criteria described in the pages of the Book of Mormon itself. The theories of Mesoamerica, Heartland, Great Lakes, etc all have to explain away or distort the scriptural record in order to make their predetermined models fit.

Joseph Smith may very well have originally believed that the Book of Mormon took place in North America, but he also made comments suggesting South or Central America as well.

dx said...

I guess many of you haven't seen McCraney's long hate-filled screaming rants. Just pick one at random on YouTube. Then tell me he's perfectly sane.

bom pogp said...

While reading your post I was impressed by your comments on Shawn McCraney as being respectful? From WHAT I have seen of him on his youtube station, far from it.
I have noticed many coming out and stating the BoM is false from ex-members? Yet have they so soon forgotten of the witness of the Holy Spirit, or were THEY DECEIVED by the heart as so many "christians" including McCraney spouts?
Have so many forgotten the pearls contained in the BoM which state they if they "endured" till the end God will give them eternal life?
Here are some attributes of a latter day saint below.

Patient Long suffering Kind Loving Peaceful enduring till the end?

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:7 - 8)
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

I can NOW comprehend the "WAR in HEAVEN" how it began and why it continues till the is day even among the em-bodied AND un-embodied. Division is caused by the small things not so much as the great things.

PEOPLE deny Joseph Smith as a Prophet. Then every thing he said or done is false to them ( McCraney spout ) Did not Jesus get denied after his resurrection?
I MARVEL at how soon people forget the witness of God to them from the beginning just marvel at them and see some prophecy being fulfilled.

To ENDURE is the hardest thing on earth as far as I am concerned because it requires, all. Yet we are promised more than we could, can, will imagine for our faithfulness in KEEPING our covenants to God and Christ.

bom pogp said...

ps As with you dialoging with McCraney , I am glad he was respectful to you and your views as you stated but yet the fundamental basis or foundation is HE is opposed to you and your views on the existence of the church of Jesus Christ...Korihor comes to mind?
But nevertheless YOU states you love him in Christ and consider him a brother, well good for you and I mean it but for me, he is a snake.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, I'm pretty well convinced the Book of Mormon described people who lived on the North American continent. I'm not aware of any place where Joseph Smith suggested South America. A writer by the name of Benjamin Winchester wrote in the Times & Seasons giving South America as the land described in the Book of Mormon, and he did it over Joseph Smith's byline, so that may be what you're thinking of. Joseph himself was very unhappy with Winchester's piece and said Winchester had "a rotten heart" and that he would injure the church as much as he could.

Indeed he has, as today so many good members have left the faith because their shelf was broken by the weight of false information still taught among church apologists that Joseph must have been mistaken when HE said the events took place in North America, because they point to these fabrications of Winchesters written in Joseph's name as saying contrary.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bom Pogp,
I only said Shawn was respectful to me. I am aware of his frustrations in seeing good latter-day Saints follow what he sees as a cult, and I am in agreement to a point. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as presently constituted IS a cult by every definition.

Unfortunately, Shawn himself and others have been betrayed by that very church that taught that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and that the Book of Mormon took place in South America. These assertions cannot hold up, and I am not surprised when it breaks the shelf of so many believers.

Had the Church after Joseph Smith taught ONLY those things revealed through Joseph Smith, and not speculated about so much dross such as polygamy, blood atonement, and the unsupportable beliefs of some that Joseph Smith taught a MesoAmerican geography of the book of Mormon -which he never did- I wonder how many faithful saints might have remained in the fold.

It's difficult to blame people for leaving a cult that promotes so much false doctrine that was never revealed by the Lord. We get to love these people and help them to see the common ground between us.

Recall that the Church today is on a mission to purge any and all whose loyalty to Christ is higher than their allegiance to leadership. It deserves to lose members. It makes no effort to bring Christians back into the fold, for it considers Christians to be apostates because they reject the arm of flesh and seek Christ instead.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Something I find interesting when academics try to locate Book of Mormon geography is that they completely ignore the spiritual promises and references made in Nephi's vision in 1 Nephi 13-15:

-A land highly favored above all others
-Inhabited by multitudes of Gentiles (British)
-Gentiles would scatter the remnant of the Lamanities
-Gentiles would become a mighty, wealthy people
-References to Revolutionary War
-Christ during his visit to Bountiful said the Gentiles (British) must be set up as "a free people" in "this land" - hard to believe he's referencing an entire hemisphere.

(This, of course, negates the Christopher Columbus "man among the Gentiles" legend we've been told these many decades now--this man comes to a remnant of Lehi who are "in" the Promised Land. Columbus never set foot in North America according to his travel logs.)

These are just a few of the multitude of references that point to Colonial America--specifically New England. Unfortunately we got very carried away with this Manifest Destiny nonsense and overstepped our God-given inheritance.

America, specifically everything east of the Mississippi river, which made up 95% of America during Joseph's life, is the Promised Land in my estimation. I mean, shoot, has anyone else driven through Wyoming lately? It's a wasteland, not a land flowing with milk and honey.



MrHFMetz said...

I just found another interview with Rock on http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2013/07/rock-waterman-pure-mormonism/

MC said...

Rock,

What do you make of this remark by Joseph Smith concerning Book of Mormon geography?

"When we read in the Book of Mormon that Jared and his brother came on to this continent from the confusion and scattering at the Tower, and lived here more than a thousand years, and covered the whole continent from sea to sea, with towns and cities; and that Lehi went down by the Red Sea to the great Southern Ocean, and crossed over to this land, and landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien, and improved the country according to the word of the Lord, as a branch of the house of Israel, and then read such a goodly traditionary account as the one below, we can not but think the Lord has a hand in bringing to pass his strange act, and proving the Book of Mormon true in the eyes of all the people. The extract below, comes as near the real fact, as the four Evangelists do to the crucifixion of Jesus.--Surely "facts are stubborn things." It will be as it ever has been, the world will prove Joseph Smith a true prophet by circumstantial evidence, in experiments, as they did Moses and Elijah." (Sept. 15, 1842.) T&S 3:921-922. See also TPJS pg 266-267

MC said...

Matt Lohrke,

The answer to the apparent contradictions you laid out is in earlier geographical terminology of the Americas.

From the time of the discovery of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries, during Joseph Smith's time, and up to the early 20th century, what we now refer to as the separate continents of North and South America were referred to as a single continent known as the American continent. When looked at in this light all of the prophecies in the Book of Mormon you listed make sense. Otherwise they don't.

It's also interesting that the Book of Mormon mentions that the decedents of Lehi would receive the Book of Mormon after it went forth and eventually blossom as the rose in the wilderness. The North American Indians have not accepted the Book of Mormon to a large degree, yet the inhabitants of South and Central America have. Coincidence?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
You ask what do I think of that statement of Joseph Smith?
What I think is that it was not written by Joseph Smith.

That false teaching, and others like it, was the work of one Benjamin Winchester, a writer at the Times & Seasons, who was responsible for several articles that CONTRADICTED statements previously given by the prophet, and that Joseph Smith disapproved of. But because Joseph Smith's name was on the Boilerplate as Editor and Publisher of the paper, even today that quote is attributed to him. It even made it into the collection of "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" that was compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith in the 20th century.

Winchester happened to be enamored by the discoveries of an explorer by the name of Stephens, who discovered ancient ruins in Guatemala around 1841. Winchester decided on his own that those discoveries constituted the needed proof that the Book of Mormon took place in South America. Yet Joseph always maintained that North America was the site of Book of Mormon events.

Today, there are mountains of evidence, including DNA evidence that prove the dark skinned "Indians" of Central and South America show Asian markers. But DNA of many North American tribes contain all five markers proving middle-eastern ancestry. That should put the matter to rest, and demonstrate that the prophet Joseph Smith knew more than the hack writer Benjamin Winchester, who Joseph later described as "rotten at heart" and one who "would injure the church as much as he could."

See "Brought to Light," "The Editors" and "The Lost City of Zarahemla" all by Jonathan Neville, and you'll learn all you need to know and more about this fraud who wrote falsehoods under Joseph Smith's name, who did indeed injure the church for more than a hundred and fifty years after Joseph's demise.

https://smile.amazon.com/Brought-Light-jonathan-neville/dp/1944200010/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1500991721&sr=8-8&keywords=jonathan+neville


MC said...

Rock,

Thanks for sharing that link. I'll have to try and track down that book sometime to take a look at what Jonathan Neville is proposing about Benjamin Winchester. It looks like Neville believes that the article about Lehi landing just south of the isthmus of Darian is false, but the evidence only suggests that it may be questionable.

My own personal opinion is that Joseph Smith did not know exactly where the Book of Mormon took place. I believe that he likely did believe that it took place in the area where he lived, at least originally. Even without the statement in question from the times and seasons, his statements are not nearly as consistent or definitive as you suggest.

I don't have an ax to grind against the heartland and great lakes theories. If it turns out that the Book of Mormon did take place up there, that's fine with me.

The problem is that the geography of the Book of Mormon is described quite well within its pages and it just does not fit the great lakes area or anywhere in the vicinity of Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, or New York, where people claim Joseph suggested it took place.

For one thing there are no mountains in that area, let alone ones whose height is great. There is no North Sea, South Sea, East Sea, and West Sea with a narrow neck between the East Sea and the West Sea that could be travelled in a day and a half by a Nephite.

The hill in which Joseph Smith found the plates (named Cumorah by the early saints) does not match the description in the Book of Mormon as the place where the Jaredites and Nephites met their demise, nor is there one shred of evidence that any massive battles took place there.

DNA evidence really doesn't matter much to me. If we had someone who we know for certain was decended from the ancient tribe of Manassas and we compared it to the Native Americans in North and South America and there was no match on any level then there might be cause for concern. In my opinion DNA testing is in its infancy, and is not overally reliable in these kinds of matters.

Andean Peru is by far the best match for what is described in the pages of the Book of Mormon. It requires zero twisting of the scriptures. Mesoamerica is a distant second, and everywhere else requires substantial twisting of the text of the Book of Mormon to work.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the information found in "The Lost City of Zarahemla." It does indeed show how the heartland model fits perfectly within the Book of Mormon, as well as the many statements Joseph himself made locating certain areas and battles.

And yes, there are what the ancients would have referred to as "seas" and even a narrow neck of land.

"Lost City of Zarahemla" is a great overview. He goes into greater detail in some of his other books on how we know who wrote those falsehoods attributed to Joseph Smith, and when, so if you want a more academic, detailed investigation, the subsequent books provide all that. But I'd go with the first one, and also an amazing coffee table sized book full of pictures and proper quotes is this one. Everyone should own this book:

https://smile.amazon.com/Exploring-Mormon-Americas-Heartland-Photobook/dp/1934537470/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501081827&sr=1-1&keywords=the+book+of+mormon+in+america%27s+heartland

And of course you'll want to explore this website:

http://bookofmormonevidence.org/

It was the five disc DVD series that convinced me. The Smithsonian is full of drawings made by colonial farmers who sketched walls and fortifications on the land before they leveled them to make way for farming.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
Check out these videos on Youtube. There still exists mountains of evidence of massive cities. But a lot of it was deliberately destroyed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2GQo641DVg&list=PLwYyePrnbQty98W8g449fF5tBwQ_2PFOL

MC said...

Thanks for the info Rock. I'll check it out.

MC said...

Rock,

Bookofmormonevidence.org is a very interesting site. Thanks for sharing.

You are right that there is a lot of evidence for an ancient people having lived in the American heartland. I can see why so many people accept the Heartland model.

The major problem I still see with it is the matter of geography. If you look at the map provided on that website it just can't be reconciled with how the land is described in Alma 22. Parts of it can be reconciled, but most of it cannot.

For example in the hearland model there is no narrow strip of land that runs between an east sea and a west sea allowing the Nephites to keep the Lamanites from going into the land northward. The land of Zarahemla in the heartland model is also not nearly surrounded by water. Those are just a couple of the many problems.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC I do recall seeing reference to a narrow strip of land between the Great Lakes but I would have to wade through the literature to find it. I'm sure you'll find it if you keep reading or asking around. I don't have time at the moment. All my questions were satisfied when I first started looking into this several years back, and I'm sure yours will be also. Don't assume that just because you haven't learned of it yet, the answers aren't available.

MC said...

Rock,

I recall a narrow strip of land between the great lakes in the Heartland model as well. It runs north to south not east to west as I recall.

If the Heartland model makes sense to you and strengthens your testimony of the Book of Mormon then that is a good thing. I would say the same for people whose testimonies are strenghthed by the Mesoamerican model.

I do wonder though, since only one model at most can be correct, if the false models out there do harm, too.

Anyway you might find the writings of Del Dowdell interesting. He is a pretty much unknown researcher who has done extensive research on Book of Mormon geography and pretty much everything to do with the Book of Mormon over the past 30 years.

He has written several books. The first is entitled "Lehi never saw Mesoamerica ". He also has a blog called nephicode. He has done thousands of posts. As far as I can tell his analysis of Book of Mormon geography is 100% in harmony with the text of the Book of Mormon itself.

I think it's worth a serious look. His analysis is mind blowing.

Jarom Aston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jarom Aston said...

Do you honestly believe that the Book Of Mormon took place in North america? I mean here in Texas it can get pretty cold occasionally, Yet i'm to believe with all of the wars and fleeing with haste there are zero references to cold weather. Anywhere from texas to New York there would be massive problems with snow and cold weather. Not a single mention! It's all B.S.

dx said...

Jarom,

"There were some who died with fevers which at some seasons of the year were very frequent...to which men were subject by the nature of the climate." (Alma 46:40)



dx said...

Today's climate has little to do with the climate 1500-2500 years ago. It's funny how people assume the climate has been stable for millennia just because it has been relatively stable in their short lifetimes.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mc, Thanks for the info on Del Dowdell.

Jason Aston, I never said I thought the Nephites lived in Texas. No one in their right mind would want to live in Texas.

According to what Joseph Smith understood, Book of Mormon events took place around Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, New York, Michigan, and the Great Lakes areas.

As far as I know, people manage to survive the winters there today, so I see no reason why others couldn't have lived in those areas a thousand years ago as well. Hell, I hear tell of a people called "Canadians" who live even further north than you do, and have for thousands of years. Three of these hearty creatures, a male and two females, showed up at my door just yesterday. Alive.

Perhaps you imagine the Nephites and Lamanites dressing as portrayed in Arnold Friberg paintings, in which case I would agree they are not properly attired for Texas in the winter.

(For that matter, I have never seen a Texan who was properly attired to live in any place other than Texas.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx,
What's odder still is for someone to assume that simply because the weather is not mentioned in a people's history, there was no weather to speak of.

I've read countless history books, and I can't think of many instances when weather was described in the normal course of events, unless, for instance, winter was a key element in the event. The revolving climate is a given, nothing more than the background to life. Why would Mormon bother to mention that the Lamanites waited to conduct their raids until after the inclement weather had passed? I'd think that would have been a given.

Jarom Aston said...

Winter plays a huge role in wars. It would play a significant role in strategy and casualties of war. The fact it is not mentioned is telling. I did not say the Nephites were in Texas BTW. I don't think america was significantly warmer 2,000 years ago.

Log said...

Why take a position on BoM geography without knowing the truth of the matter?

And by knowing, I mean actual knowledge, not mere belief, nor citations to authority (almost always incomplete; cherry-picked to push an agenda).

Indeed, that question can be generalized as follows: why take a position on any subject you don't have firsthand knowledge about?

DeeLyn said...

I agree with Log. I don't think we should believe the BoM is true or from true prophets just because someone claimed it was or because we felt a certain way when reading or praying about it, for people in all religions can claim the very same feelings and revelation as justification why they think 'their' religion or scriptures are true.

Christ taught us to prove all things by facts before believing in anything or anyone. And since the BoM hasn't and probably can't be proven true, I believe it is wise to consider it a work of fiction by Joseph Smith and/or others.

After continually waking up to the many many false and wrong things and people I have been deceived to believe in thru my life, especially in the Church, I see the great wisdom in Christ's advice.

We can still learn from and appreciate the good principles taught in the BoM, while also being able to acknowledge the things it teaches that are not in harmony with Christ's teachings.

Then we have the best of both world's, we can learn from the good without being blind to or deceived by the bad it teaches.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jason Aston, although you are correct that modern wars are often fought in winter, this was not true in ancient times, and there is no reason to believe the Lamanites came over the borders during the winter to harass the Nephite cities. What would they gain by it?

During the revolutionary war, both the British and Colonial armies set up winter quarters and encampments where they waited out the weather. Near Morristown, New Jersey, George Washington's army built 1,000 log cabins with chimneys to wait out the winter. The same was true during the American Civil War, when both sides "enjoyed" a natural truce for the season because any military operation was impossible. Roads were impassable so everybody stayed put.

I'm not sure I follow your thinking that we should have heard about Book of Mormon battles being fought in the snow when there is no reason to believe any army of the ancient world on either continent would attempt something so foolhardy and impractical as going to battle in the middle of winter.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log and Deelyn, of course WE don't know the exact locations of Book of Mormon events, but the prophet Joseph apparently did, as he mentioned on several occasions that certain events took place in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. We can safely assume since he never once indicated MesoAmerican locations that they most likely took place where he said they did and not where he did not.

There is scant evidence of Book of Mormon peoples living in Central and South America, but there are literal mountains of evidence in North America. Most of it was lost when Colonial farmers leveled the ground and cleared out the artifacts, but happily the Smithsonian has many volumes full of drawings and descriptions of the things the early Americans found here and recorded before they were destroyed -much more plentiful evidence than are found today in places like Chichen Iitza or Teotihuacan.

You can see some of these illustrations that were drawn in books such as "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley" and "Lost American Antiquities" as well as many other collections.

You don't have to conclude that these civilizations were built by the Nephites and Lamanites, but it's clear that SOME advanced civilizations once existed in these valleys, and archaeologists date the evidence as being around the same time the Book of Mormon suggests. All this fascinating evidence may not interest you, but it interests me.

https://smile.amazon.com/Ancient-Monuments-Mississippi-Valley-Davis-ebook/dp/B01IVQYFTG/ref=pd_sim_351_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=13NCG3XQEKNFX140XHBF

Michael Burke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Burke said...

Mr. Waterman: Where could I find some quotes from Joseph regarding BOM events that took place in the Ohio or Mississippi valleys (and are they from reliable sources)? Is there any contemporary evidence Joseph said these things, or does all the evidence come from unreliable sources decades after he was dead?

Robin Hood said...

Rock, you're correct about winter warfare.
The Germans invaded the Soviet Union and fought their way to within spitting distance of Moscow before being stopped by the winter weather.
Same thing happend to Napoleon many years before.
Wars are not fought in the winter when conditions are extreme.

Michael Burke said...

I see Joseph wrote this to Emma on June 3rd, 1834.

"The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls and their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity, and gazing upon a country the fertility, the splendour and the goodness so indescribable, all serves to pass away time unnoticed."

Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 324.

And didn't the angel tell Joseph that the plates were buried in the hill Cumorah?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Michael Burke,
An excellent source of statements by Joseph Smith and others on the locations of Book of Mormon events can be found in "Lost City of Zarahemla" by Jonathan Neville. Also of interest are two other books by that author showing that quotes often attributed to Joseph Smith that would place these events in Central and South America were not made by him. See "Brought to Light" and "The Editors" for further documentation.

https://smile.amazon.com/Lost-City-Zarahemla-Guatemala-Again/dp/1515337995/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1502053256&sr=8-8&keywords=jonathan+neville

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Michael Burke,
You may be interested in this short video discussing the area spoken of by Joseph in that letter to Emma. At least two modern archeological digs have uncovered loads of relics from that very area, and the later one, around 1973, dated the artifacts at 380 A.D. which would confirm what Joseph said about it being the site of one of the last great battles of the Book of Mormon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8VBKVHBgKo

Robin Hood said...

It is even thought that Zarahemla was located on the opposite banks of the river from Nauvoo.

JankyJoe said...

Lotsa books out there to read. Enoch, Thomas, Adam&Eve, Jasher, the coptic metal plates found in Jordan a couple years ago, and coming soon no doubt is the sealed portion of the BoM and the piles of ancient records stored in Cumorah and so so much more.

READ THE BOOK! whilst waving it in the air and declaring that it has all the answers doesn't do squat. The things of God can only be comprehended through the spirit of God, not by clever debates or academic papers; scripture alone is just fodder for the argumentative. btw Rock, you looked very poised, thoughtful and didn't give any ground without appearing stiffly dogmatic. McCraney was amazingly on his best behavior that I've ever seen him. Good job.

Phillips & Skidmore Law LLC said...

I really appreciate your work and insights. It's funny because a couple years ago I considered you "the enemy" in some respects when I first read a couple of your articles! At that time I was the typical member of the church born and raised in Davis County, eagle scout, DL and ZL in my mission to Italy, married in the temple, former Elder's Quorum Pres and counselor in the bishopric, wife having served as young women's pres and in Relief Society Presidency. But two years ago we felt an overwhelming, unmistakable prompting to leave the church and even have our names removed. So I'm kind of the atypical ex-mormon in many respects I guess. I had a great experience as a member for 35 years. I loved my mission, was never offended and absolutely loved serving in different capacities. Even writing this now I feel a great love for my time in the church and the people I met who influenced my life. But it's been about 2 and a half years now and I have no doubt that we made the right decision. The Spirit is stronger in my life than ever before and I just know that my wife and I are on a path that is being laid out before us.

But it's amazing being on the other side of the mormon veil. I see things in a completely different light. Not long ago I was convinced that everything I had been taught was true in the church and anyone who spoke negatively of church leaders (i.e. you lol) I condemned in a sense, or rejected what they had to say - because ya just don't do that sort of thing! Now I feel like my eyes are opening up to a whole new world of knowledge and spiritual enlightenment. I realize now that I had blinders that were placed on me by all the years of conditioning. Now I feel I can think for myself in new ways.

My wife and I have unique spiritual beliefs now. I still believe in the bible and book of mormon but I love all spiritual beliefs on an entirely new level now. I have a much deeper faith and understanding of God's love, I feel, and no longer accept the idea that one has to make sure they believe the right beliefs, pray to the right God, say the right code words, and pay their money to the right church to make it to "heaven". I truly believe that all of us down here on earth are in this together and that we all have a unique, important part to play in the tapestry of life. Every thread is essential to its making, regardless of the color, shade or position in the tapestry. All of it weaves together to form a beautiful picture if one is able to stand back and see the big picture for what it really is.

Robin Hood said...

@Phillips & Skidmore Law LLC
You say that you still believe in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and then go on to say that you don't believe that one has to "pray to the right God..... to make it to heaven."
It is therefore clear that you have no idea what those books say on the subject, or that you don't really believe them.

Robin Hood said...

@Phillips & Skidmore Law LLC
Also, I am always very suspect of those who feel the need to list their "credentials"; i.e. Eagle scout (whatever that is), DL, ZL, (not AP then?), temple marriage (you and millions of others), EQP, counsellor in a bishopric (so not a bishop).
I don't know if we are supposed to be impressed, but if that was the plan, it hasn't worked.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Phillips & Skidmore,
I did not miss your point. I don't believe you were listing your "credentials" as a boast, but rather by way of showing that even when we do all the things we are "supposed" to do in the church -perhaps even BECAUSE we focus so intently on the Leadership Track- we can easily allow ourselves to miss the core of the gospel message.

As it happens, my upcoming post will be addressing what I consider the misguided emphasis the Church began placing on leadership training beginning in the late 1950's and early 60's. It resulted in the present confusion we see in the church where every young man was expected to become an effective leader. Leaders require followers, and there is no place in scripture where members of the church of Jesus Christ were commanded to "follow" any priesthood "leader."

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Welcome to the other side of the veil.

Dave P. said...

Indeed. The mindset today, especially in Utah, is basing a person's entire worth on how they're viewed in the eyes of the corporation. So long as they're active in "the church" with leadership position callings, married in the temple, plenty of kids, actively home teaching, etc., it doesn't matter if the actual person is complete scum outside of the corporate image.