I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

Misusing Science for religion,

I whole-heartedly agree with the Christian scriptures which commend us to use our minds and rational thought in deciding what we’ll believe. It is true that we’ve been told to think, and to love God with our mind. The problem as I see it, however, is that those in the Evangelical community are willing to throw-out information so that they can form their own narrow, contrived, TRUTH, and damn anyone else who doesn’t treat and interpret the data the same way that they do. Of course, this problem doesn’t wholly belong to Evangelicals. All religions, all non-religions, all schools-of-thought carry the bias of deleting data that doesn’t conform to their prejudiced worldview.

Through my personal reading of literature, history, and science, I recognize that this phenomena is not a new development. From Hitler’s misinterpretation and usurpation of the song of the Germans
into “racial superiority” from the “call of unity” it was initially meant to inspire, to a recent Evangelical attempt at defining Mormonism, the human bias and incomplete treatment of data continues. I call this the EPIC INTELLECTUAL FAIL.

It was recently asked

What role does the mind play in the LDS spiritual discernment process concerning the Book of Mormon? Are LDS investigators/members encouraged to fully engage their mind in the process of discerning the truth of the Book of Mormon?

Quite frankly, I thought that the LDS standard works clearly define what the role is. D&C 8:1-2

1 OLIVER Cowdery, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my scripture of which has been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit.
2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart

There you have it, they both have a part.
That would have been the end of the post, but what good Evangelical simply asks Mormons what they believe and let them answer? A true Evangelical has to state inaccurate information, miscontextualize Mormonism, and portray it as “Satan’s lie” for this is how you love someone. Numerous “facts” are then listed, which aren’t really facts. They are interpretations of data. A logical discussion on these data would begin by determining if the data is valid, not merely accepting them because someone who claims to be a good Christian told me they’re true.
Data that hasn’t been taken into account by this author.
Point 1. The Bible has not been historically proven accurate. As “the yellow dart” points out,

…I don’t know anyone in the academy–whether Christian, Jewish, atheist, etc.– who would agree with such an assessment. The only persons who even make such wide-sweeping statements are persons with what I would call fundamentalist views concerning the Bible; and why should anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist already adopt such a position? It is demonstrably false.

I certainly believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead, but I cannot prove it from archeology. I know the city Jerusalem exists and existed, but I also know archeological evidence disputes the Old Testament records that describe how big the city was and when. I know archeological records do not support the story of Jericho, nor the parting of the red sea. Most fundamentalists refuse to even entertain archeological evidence that disputes what they believe about the Bible, so I really feel the hypocrisy when these same people try and use archeology against the Book of Mormon. The lack of evidence is not the evidence of non-existence, that’s simple first year logic. I do not require archeological proof, and think it is wrong for others to impose such a subjective requirement that they do not also follow. “Hyporcrite, thy name is Evangelical.” Finally, I disagree with the characterization of “Many Mormons” buying into the “inspired fiction view.” This is just more smoke being blown out of the backside of a monkey. There’s no reference, no statistic, just a faith claim. I could just as easily say, “Many Christians in America are becoming less religious), but then I could also post to a NYT article to back up my claim. Kind of ironic that I’m the one providing evidence, when the accuser initially claimed their faith was built in archeological proof.
Point 2. While it is true that the Book of Mormon contains many issues important to the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, that’s kind of the point. The Book of Mormon itself insists that the book was meant to help us today, to help correct some of the false creeds and traditions of men that have crept up into “so-called” orthodoxy. The author also forgot to mention the things that parallel ancient heritage, such as chiasmus, the understanding of Asherah, and the ancient custom of renaming places as one journeyed. Why throw out data, just because you dislike the inference? because you’re biased.
Point 3. The “so-called” impossible gospel was written by offender’s for a word. If that’s the type of person you want to learn from, feel free. But it doesn’t make you look like you love Mormons, or that you have any charity, no matter how much you claimed to have done this by prayer.
Point 4. There were many ways Joseph did translating. Quite frankly, if God could work through Joseph of Egypt who had a divining cup, I fail to see how He couldn’t have Joseph translate through whatever he had. Quite frankly, this has been discussed ad naseum on / Fair/and Bushman.
Point 5. For all of the information on the Kinderhook plates, and not just tidbits culled by a dimwhit to discount Mormonism, see here: .
Point 6. See Fair.
Finally, and most importantly, just because the Book of Mormon doesn’t contain most of Mormonism’s distinct doctrines doesn’t mean the testing method provided is invalid. In fact, this is a common Evangelical straw man: “You read about the book of Mormon and pray to know if the Church is true.” The truth is, there are a number of assumptions Mormons make, it isn’t quite as naïve as Evangelicals would like to have you believe.
1.) You can read and study the words of both the Book of Mormon and the Bible and see how they differ. You can compare the contexts and see how the doctrines and principles are the same. You can then ask God to know if the book is true. Once you’ve determine it’s true, then you have to worry about how it got here. For most Mormons the simplist answer is it came from God because Joseph was a prophet. But the same princple can also be used to ask God to know if Joseph was a prophet, then one can ask God to know if our current Prophet is a prophet. It is true that you probably cannot test a religion completely separated from is distinctiveness, but it’s simpkly dishonest to infer this is what Mormonism does. In addition to reading the foundational scripture (the Book of Mormon) missionaries teach very distinct Mormon doctrines to their investigators. They introduce them to all of the restored scripture, invite them to church to participate themselves, they teach them about future covenants they will make in the Temple to make their family eternal, they’re taught to live the word of Wisdom, the law of Chasitity, and to live the law of tithing and eventually the law of consecration. I bet Jack could vouch that Mormon’s DO talk about their distinctiveness, and it’s pure dishonesty to imply they don’t.
If it’s truly possible for Satan’s ministers to be transformed as the ministers of righteousness I suppose it’s also possible for him to transform them into female Evangelical Christians and have them give misinformation about Mormonism, right? I mean, what’s harder, a glowing halo or a webpage?

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May 11, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. A lot of your links appear broken or point to the wrong page. [Ed. Fixed]

    I, too, wish Jessica could just ask her question and let us answer rather than including all the evangelical slant on the “historical facts” that “disprove” Mormonism.

    Comment by Tom | May 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi PC,

    Just thought I would drop in. 🙂 I wanted to briefly comment on one of the two examples you brought up re: proofs of the Bible’s unreliability and then add some data re: reliability. While I think it probably would be difficult to find evidence of a Red Sea crossing (e.g., underwater burials over three millennia old), I do not feel that the Jericho issue is a slam dunk case for biblical errancy. While the date and data currently accepted by the mainstream appears to conflict with the biblical account, there has been a flip-flop over the last number of decades, and I am not satisfied that the matter is settled.

    In the 1930s, archaeologist John Garstang’s findings at Jericho validated the biblical story of the conquest, both in terms of traditional date and destruction (fallen city walls, evidence of destruction by fire, etc.). In the 1950s, his date was overturned when Kathleen Kenyon did further digging, dating the city’s destruction to 1550 BC and finding no habitation during the period surrounding the traditional conquest date (though still finding the collapsed walls, stores of grain—obviously not a long siege—and ash layer from massive burning). In the 1990s, Bryant Wood’s work at Jericho caused a stir when he proposed a redating of the destruction around 1400 BC (again) using historical dating (i.e., pottery shards based on Egyptian chronology). However, in 1995 radiocarbon dating was done with several grains from the city, and the findings confirmed Kenyon’s date of around 1550 BC. Most scholars currently accept this date for Jericho’s destruction. However, when I researched into this matter some time back, I did not feel that the matter was settled. Bryant Wood, holding to the pottery-based date, argues that “Jericho is just one example of the discrepancy between historical and C14 dates for the second millennium B.C. C14 dates are consistently 100–150 years earlier than historical dates. There is a heated debate going on among scholars concerning this, especially with regard to the date of the eruption of Thera (Santorini). The literature on the subject is enormous….” (See the rest of his comment here. See a similar issue with the dating of the eruption of Thera here.) It should also be noted that there is debate about the traditional date of the conquest. So I guess I feel that the matter is not a slam dunk case, and given the amount of data confirming the reliability of the Bible, I feel justified in letting it play itself out.

    As just a very few examples of the many archaeological finds supporting the Bible’s accuracy (in this case the OT), consider these:

    A victory stele by Mesha of Moab mentioning the Israelite dynasty of Omri (II Kings 3)

    Foreign rulers mentioned in the Bible—with appropriate dates—and attested to by other cultures’ inscriptions, texts, etc. (e.g., Shishaq of Egypt, Benhadad I/II and Hazael of Syria, Ethbaal/Ittobaal of Tyre and Sidon and daughter Jezebel, Rezin/Rakhianu of Damascus, Baalis of Ammon, Assyrian and Babylonian rulers Tiglath-pileser III/Pul, Shalmaneser, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Merodach-Baladan II, Nebuchadrezzar II, Evil-Merodach/Awel-Marduk, and Egyptian rulers So/Osorkon, Tirhaqah/Taharqa, Necho II, and Hophra/Apries/Wahibre)

    Israelite rulers mentioned in foreign records (e.g., Omri, Ahab, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoash, Menahem, Pekah, and Hoshea)

    Kings of Judah mentioned in foreign records (e.g., Jehoram II, Ahaziah II, possibly Azariah/Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah…you get the idea)

    Chronology in I and II Kings that closely matches dates from other sources, such as Mesopotamian

    The Tel Dan stela, apparently of Aram-Damascus, which mentions “king of Israel” and “the House of David”

    Foreign campaigns (e.g., Shoshenq of Egypt, Mesha of Moab) mentioned in both biblical texts and foreign sources

    Familial murder of Sennacherib described in biblical and secular history

    Records of history among other ancient kingdoms that match the types of sources used as references for Kings and Chronicles

    Babylonian records of exile, including ration tablets for Jehoiachin king of Judah and his family

    Judean seals and bullae of names mentioned in the OT (e.g., in Jeremiah)

    Opponents of Nehemiah that are known from papyri, burial sites, etc. (e.g., Sanballat of Samaria and Tobiah the Ammonite)

    Letters granting safe passage (similar to those in Ezra and Nehemiah)

    Aramaic stela (841 BC) mentioning “the House of David”

    Conscriptions into royal service at Ugarit and Mari that match the detailed warnings before the selection of Saul as king (I Sam. 8)

    Archaeological information regarding the conquest is difficult to obtain due to many factors including erosion of sites, style of conquest similar to Egyptian conquest (with rare exceptions, cities not burned or destroyed—see Deut. 6:10-11), and impossibility of proving who destroyed any given city. Usually 85-95% of evidence is still underground at all sites, and even well-known examples of historical conquests have often not left behind the expected traces. Nevertheless, this can be known: Of the twenty-four cities encountered by Joshua during the conquest, twenty contain evidence of being inhabited during the Late Bronze Age, with various factors accounting for the present lack of such evidence for the other four. In several cases there is evidence of destruction during the conquest period, including conflagration at Hazor (one of only three cities said to have actually been burned).

    Evidences from 2nd millennium history that match the dramatic events of Genesis 14 (e.g., political situations, names/name-types, alliance types at only this time, a Mari text that recounts a strikingly similar narrative in a literary format similar to Genesis 14, nighttime attacks and a religious ending to a campaign, etc.)

    Affinities of Deuteronomy with 2nd millennium documents rather than 7th century ones (presence of a historical prologue, magnitude and order of blessing and curses, use of ancient idioms, etc.) in comparison with 80-90 sequenced law/covenant/treaty documents

    Etc., etc., etc.

    There are myriad people, places, buildings, cultural and political realities, and events in the Bible that are attested to by an abundance of data. The above is just a summarized selection of only portions of On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K. A. Kitchen (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003).

    Comment by NChristine | May 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. Oops–the second smiley face above should be an “8” (I Samuel 8). 🙂

    Comment by NChristine | May 13, 2009 | Reply


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