This evidence won’t prove the Book of Mormon to be true. Nothing, in fact, proves the Book of Mormon is true. Testimony and learning line upon line is the way to increase your belief.
However, I’ve heard critics exclaim that no a pinch of evidence exists for the Book of Mormon. Not so! Share this story — along with the many other evidences — of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Uto-Aztecan is a very exciting piece of the overall Book of Mormon narrative.
Blake Ostler wrote a great article on ex nihilo creation. Most traditional Christian (non-Mormon) scholars today understand that the principle of creation ex nihilo was created itself out of nothing (actually due to Greek philosophical influences) around 190 AD.
Mormons believe that matter is eternal. We believe God organized chaotic matter to form the earth and universe.
Joseph Smith cleared up centuries of division, paradoxical creeds, and other philosophic confusion with a few revelations!
It is a long article, but worth your time.
Blake’s bio here: http://blakeostler.com/biography.html
A critic just posted a wildly out-of-context and false statement in an online discussion. An accusation is simple to make, but often takes much time to research and refute. Here’s what the critic stated:
They claimed to see the plates in a visionary state. Some held them through a pillow, etc. They didn’t claim to actually physically hold them.
Here’s my response after doing lots of looking around:
I’ll read from you link (he referenced a critical source, which I’ve seen before). Do you ever quote the 3 or 8 witnesses themselves? They didn’t change their stories. Why use other sources? Should I listen to you or go to your detractors or others to understand your side of the story?
Below is a link to quotes from William Smith (JS’s younger brother) the critics often use to claim that the Book of Mormon witnesses only saw the plates through a frock. The issue here is that it’s a fact William Smith never saw the plates. That is because he wasn’t one of the 3 or 8 witnesses. Instead, William only held the plates while they were covered in a frock — soon after Joseph brought the plates down from the hill.
So, William wasn’t lying. He simply reported the truth: he held them covered (within a frock) during the first few months they were in Joseph’s possession in Palmyra (1827). But he wasn’t speaking for the experience of others. He wasn’t speaking for the 3 and 8 witnesses.
Indeed, William’s testimony was very limited. He was not one of the 3 witnesses who saw the angel along with plates (golden and brass), Liahona, Sword of Laban, etc. in 1829. And he was not present when the Golden Plates were openly displayed for the 8 witnesses who then lifted and inspect these plates. Also in 1829.
A few minutes later I posted this (after doing a quick search for “plates pillow” on FAIR Mormon):
Just found the source for your reference to the pillow. These quotes come from interviews with William Smith in the 1880s and 1890s. William never says that his father & brothers never saw the plates. Your earlier statements are factually incorrect. You and those at Mormon Think take William’s quote out of context. Far out of context.
Immediately after securing the plates (Sept of 1827) and entering the Smith home, father Smith put the plates (already wrapped in a frock) inside a pillow. The goal was to further hide them. They weren’t allowed to see the plates at this time. Nobody was. No debate there. This was September of 1827. The witnesses saw the plates in 1829. Two different years, Ken. Very poor scholarship on your part & for those at Mormon Think.
Referring to what occurred after the work of translation (in 1829), William says:
“He then showed the plates to my father and my brothers Hyrum and Samuel, who were witnesses to the truth of the book which was translated from them. I was permitted to lift them as they laid in a pillow-case; but not to see them, as it was contrary to the commands he had received.”
The list of 8 witnesses. Note that William is not on the list.
Joseph Smith Sr.
Samuel H. Smith.
Peter Whitmer Jr.
Indeed, this same William whom you quote out of context, clearly reports that his father & 2 brothers were shown the plates by Joseph.
Summary: A frequent claim is that a Book of Mormon witnesses said that he only handled the plates while they were covered in a “tow frock.” However, this report is from William Smith, one of Joseph’s brothers who was not a Book of Mormon witness. In fact, William insisted in the same statement that he was convinced Joseph was not lying about the plates. William also dismissed the Spalding hypothesis as nonsense.
No, DNA evidence doesn’t (and cannot) refute the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. This is worth watching!
Michael Frank Whiting is the director of the Brigham Young University (BYU) DNA Sequencing Center and an associate professor in BYU’s Department of Integrative Biology. Whiting received his bachelor’s degree from BYU and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Dr. Whiting is a widely respected expert on DNA and genetics.
Whiting has also written on why the critics of the Book of Mormon on DNA issues have overstated their case. He gives a superb speech below:
Dr Ugo Perego, a respected population geneticist, speaks at the FairMormon Conference in Kungsbacka, Sweden, 18 June 2016.
Ugo is a world expert on DNA and Native Americans.
More from Ugo on DNA, the Book of Mormon, and Native American Genetics:
Richard Lyman Bushman is a stake patriarch, in addition to being a world-class scholar. He currently serving as the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University and Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University.
He is also a general editor of the ongoing Joseph Smith Papers project. Bushman sat down with host Blair Hodges for an extended two-part interview. Part one discusses Bushman’s biography of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling. We discuss polygamy, seer stones, gold plates, and other Joseph Smith-related questions.
Elder Bruce Hafen gave this talk in early 2017 at BYU-Hawaii: “Faith is Not Blind.”
Atheists often accuse believers of blind faith. Faith without a shred of evidence!
This, unfortunately, may be true in some cases. Just as it’s true for many uneducated atheists who have not deeply contemplated their positions. After all, many atheists were raised in atheist homes, and have not been challenged.
But it isn’t true in my case or for many I know. Indeed, we should all develop our beliefs in an environment of faith and reason. Study and prayer. Blind faith is untested faith.
Faith, reason, and evidence are closely bound together.
Learning and study enhances belief. Faith (belief) and reason (study) are complementary. Not mutually exclusive. The scriptures support this position.
God wants us to have faith, but not blind faith. Developed, nurtured faith isn’t blind.
Faith in your wife, after years of loyalty in marriage, is neither blind faith. Not at all, though it’s still faith!
The Apostle John (see John 20:30-31 below) included some — but not nearly all — of the events in Jesus’ life so that we might believe in Him. That thereby we might have eternal life.
In other words, understanding Jesus’ life, miracles, and teachings helps us believe. John didn’t want us to believe blindly.
John himself was an eye witness. Consequently, John shared the best evidence from Jesus’ life so our faith would be anything but blind! He shared evidence so our faith would be evidence based.
John 20:30-31 King James Version (KJV)
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Lennox below makes a good case that atheists themselves exercise faith. Just as believers do. Faith in the rational intelligibility of the Universe.
And, given their view — that evolution is a mindless, unguided process — they shouldn’t trust their own minds and the Science they produce.
But they do. Blindly! Oh, the irony!
In a 2-minute segment below watch John Lennox discuss this topic of faith and blind faith with a very uncomfortable Richard Dawkins.
Dawkins is arguably the most militant atheist living. Atheists believe in faith. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.
Lennox argues that faith is based in evidence. Dawkins says faith is only present where there is no evidence. John points out that Richard Dawkins also exercises faith. Faith in his wife, given past actions/loyalties.
Lennox is a brilliant, kind, and talented teacher.
Science developed in Western Europe precisely because Christians believed in a law giver.
In China and other areas, there was no unifying concept of a Creator. The Gods, if they did believe in one or more, we’re capricious. One couldn’t systematically learn of the Universe.
Alvin Plantingsa asserts evolution itself undermines naturalism (more extreme form of atheism).
You could just as easily ask “How can any thinking person believe in God”? Atheists and critics ask this question all the time.
It’s interesting that we know so little about such basic things. The brightest scientists can’t explain what energy is. Or consciousness. Or many other things. We should be very humble as we learn line upon line.
John Lennox is a very articulate Protestant from Northern Ireland who’s ably defended Christianity against Richard Dawkins and other new atheists. I don’t agree w/ Lennox on the Trinity, but do on so many other counts. I’m grateful for his brilliant mind and love for Jesus.
Wonderful story with lots of wisdom. Dan Conway in the UK shares his experiences:
The first non-Mormon speaker at a FAIR conference:
“Seeing the Light: Parallels in Mormon Conversion and De-Conversions Stories – Rosemary Avance”
Thoughts about anti-Mormon approaches by Martin Tanner:
Michael Ash discusses what is and what is not an anti-Mormon:
Michael Ash discusses the different impact of anti-Mormon arguments on various people:
Preparation and prevention is important. Some problems in life are unavoidable. But some are preventable.
According to this blogger, consider reviewing 15 books before (not after) having a faith crisis. Probably everyone reading this has a friend or family struggling with these issues. Many with the Church’s position on LGBT issues.
I personally wouldn’t buy all 15 books. Mostly because I’m frugal. But I would suggest watching lots of free YouTube videos on these same topics.
I own 1-3 and #7 from the linked list. I think book #3 will give you the quickest snapshot of the major issues. In-context answers are provided by the LDS-faithful authorities in that field.
#7 is huge cuz it defends the Book of Mormon witnesses. Critics always seize on 4-6 people: very angry ex-Mormons or other critics with axes to grind. All the witnesses stayed true to their testimony and themselves gave 200+ first-hand accounts.
All of the 15 books listed have authors I’ve watched on YouTube (for free) on their topics. The book list points to the most controversial topics. Virtually all of the controversies dissolve away, once you see all the context.
I’ve long wondered what would have happened to a few people I know (now inactive atheist/agnostics) if they had studied these issues in a faithful way before their crisis. I imagine crisis would have been averted…
FAIR MORMON is a great place to go for content. LDS scholars provide insight on topics from blacks to polygamy and everything in between.