Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is truly a complex, beautiful work of scripture. (Computer programs are not; Blogger has twice deleted this post).

If you intended to start a new religion, you might draw up a list of rules and find support for them in current scripture. You might even dare to claim direct revelation from God and write them down, or publish an edifying book of inspired thoughts. But who would be so insane as to thrust upon the world an entire volume of purported sacred history -- and even worse, make itg more than 500 pages long? Why work so very hard? Joseph Smith could simply have scribbled out the Book of Nephi and called it a day -- why pile upon himself a second Book of Nephi, and a Jacob, and an Alma, and a Helaman, etc? Why such overkill?

The Book of Mormon has withstood more than a century of unabated attack but what puzzles me is that the critics never admit defeat on any point. You will still find websites gloating, for example, about the loss of testimony of the late B.H. Roberts, an LDS General Authority. In truth, that great man kept his belief in the Book of Mormon to his dying day -- whatever unanswered questions about the Book he may have had at some point in his life.

One by one, we find answers for the supposed anachronisms within its pages, but the critics never listen. If the King James version of the Bible can have dragons and unicorns, which any Bible scholar knows are merely English approximations for original Hebrew words that have no connections to mythical beasts, then we can certainly agree that Hebrew immigrants to the New World who found and grew wild American relatives of Old World barley, could call it something that translates to barley in English!

What, for another example, about another howler, houses of cement? Pray tell, if you did not have the word adobe in your vocabulary, as the Prophet Joseph did not, what word would you use to describe a structure made of that material? Moot point, since ancient Native American cement architecture has now been discovered anyway. Acknowledgement by the critics? I hear crickets chirping.

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