Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


THE HILLíS BOOKLET SAYING THE BOOK OF MORMON IS SUPPORTED BY ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

The Mormon Church, and its offshoots, claim that their scripture The Book of Mormon is a record of ancient America. This book appeared in 1830 as the result of an alleged miracle from God. There should be archaeological evidence. There is none. But Mormons choose to disagree with all the experts. Some Mormons say that since the book records great cataclysms at the time of the death of Jesus and after that there should be no evidence left. Without the evidence, there is nothing to convince that the book simply is nothing more than a nineteenth century hoax.

There was a booklet - published by one of the sects, the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, that believes that Smith was a fallen prophet and has no time for Doctrine and Covenants or anything to do with Mormonism but follows his early revelations - called Geography of Mexico and Central America from 2234 BC to 421 AD. It purports to show that the Book of Mormon fits archaeology in these areas. The Introduction mentions that this region was the centre of ancient America and the most advanced part. The Book of Mormon has a reasonably advanced civilisation so this would have to be its region. There was glyphic writing there. But this writing has no resemblance to Egyptian so that indicates that the booklet is wrong. The booklet unwittingly answers the problem of how the hill near Joseph Smithís home where he found the plates could be the scene of the great battle that destroyed the Nephites when there is no archaeological evidence. The Mormons believe that that hill was the Hill Cumorah for Smith said so. But this booklet notes that the Book of Mormon does not justify that idea and that Cumorah was located in Central America. So it would think that the plates Smith used were dug up from Cumorah and removed to Smithís hillock. The Cumorah it has in mind has no evidence of a great Jewish battle that led to the extinction of the Jews in America either. Conveniently, we are not told of this.

It is not enough to identify the cities in the Book of Mormon with ruins in the region for there are so many spots with ruins that this can be done easily enough. The booklet is suspect when the Temple of Copan is identified as the temple like Solomon that the Nephites built. But the altar of Solomon had horns and was plated in gold. The altar in this temple was a huge block of stone six by four feet and resting on four stones. And it was on top of steps which was forbidden by the Law of Moses. And the Nephites had no Levitical priests to offer sacrifice.

The morning star was held to be sacred to the god and so the people recorded its appearance and it was linked to the birth of the god (page 5). This is thought to match the Book of Mormon saying that a star appeared over America at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. But the Book never says it was a morning star. And the priests were always reading signs in the stars therefore their seeing signs in Heaven for their gods being born in Heaven was nothing new. And these legends were too late to have much value. The booklet quotes with approval the declaration in Native Races Volume III page 267 that the god, Quetzal-Coatl, had pure white skin and wore white and used the morning star as his symbol. Christ was not white skinned.

The booklet is totally unable to say that any of the names of the ruined cities in Central America matches the cities in the Book of Mormon for they do not.
 
Believers reply that the names have been changed in translation and through the changes that languages go through over time. But the ancients used words with vowels and consonants so there was no need for a huge change. We might call Espania Spain in English but that is not the same as an ancient unknown city being translated say as Zarahemla or Nephihah when archaeology finds its name was something very dissimilar. It is different for we developed our word for Spain gradually over time though it was more sensible to call it what its inhabitants called it, Espania, and this was done because of the difference in language. When there was no such word as Zarahemla or Nephihah in English would the translator use the words as the ancients used them without any change? No, the most up to date name would be used.

The Smithsonian Institution has officially declared that the Book of Mormon is no help at all with archaeology.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED

A GATHERING OF SAINTS, Robert Lindsay, Corgi, London, 1990
A MARVELLOUS WORK AND A WONDER, LeGrand Richards, Deseret Books, Utah, 1976
AN ADDRESS TO ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, David Whitmer, Board of Publications of The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Lacy Road, Independence, Missouri
ARE THE MORMON SCRIPTURES RELIABLE? Harry L Ropp, IVP, Illinois, 1987
ASK YOUR BISHOP, Ira T Ransom, 317 W 7th South, Brigham City, UT 84302
CHANGES IN JOSEPH SMITHíS HISTORY, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1965
CHANGING OF THE REVELATIONS, Apostle Daniel McGregor, Church of Christ, Independence, Missouri
GODíS WORD FINAL INFALLIBLE AND FOREVER, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
CONCISE GUIDE TO TODAYíS RELIGIONS, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1983
HOW TO ANSWER A MORMON, Robert A Morey, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1983
JOSEPH SMITH AND MONEY DIGGING, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1970
JOSEPH SMITHíS BAINBRIDGE NY COURT TRIALS, Wesley P Walters, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1977
LARSONíS BOOK OF CULTS, Bob Larson, Tyndale, Wheaton, Illinois, 1988
MORMONISM SHADOW OR REALITY? Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1972
MORMONISM, AA Hoekema, Paternoster Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978
MORMONISM, MAGIC AND MASONRY, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1988
MORMONISM, MAMA AND ME, Thelma Geer, Calvary Missionary Press, Arizona, 1983
MORMONISM, THE PROPHET, THE BOOK AND THE CULT, Peter Bartley, Veritas, Dublin, 1989
NEW LIGHT ON MORMON ORIGINS, Rev Wesley P Walters, Utah Christian Tract Society, 1967
SOME MODERN FAITHS, Maurice C Burrell and J Stafford Wright, IVP, Leics, 1988
THE BIBLE UNEARTHED, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002
THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, Church of Christ, Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri, 1995
THE BOOK OF MORMON, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Enterprises Ltd, Manchester, UK, 1972
THE CASE AGAINST MORMONISM, VOL 2, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1968
THE FACTS OF MORMONISM ARE STRANGER THAN FICTION, Charles Crane and J Edward Decker, Christian Information Outreach, Kent, 1982
THE HUMAN ORIGIN OF THE BOOK OF MORMON, Wesley P Walters, Ex-Mormons for Jesus, Florida 1979
WHY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS ESTABLISHED ANEW IN 1929?, Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Independence, Missouri