Book of Mormon Historicity

The Book of Mormon historicity debates resemble debates about Bible historicity that divided twentieth-century Protestant liberals and fundamentalists. A crucial difference is that where fundamentalists lost control of the mainline Protestant denominations, orthodox LDS leaders and scholars have succeeded at stigmatizing liberal views of Book of Mormon historicity. Tolerance for positions that embrace the Book of Mormon as nonhistorical scripture, or that downplay the importance of historicity as grounds for committing to the Church, sharply declined by the end of the twentieth century. Liberal or revisionist views have been forced to the margins of the LDS community by an assertive and expanding apologetic movement, supported by General Authorities and periodically reinforced by church discipline against prominent revisionists. [LEFT]
However, this historical development should not entirely eclipse the fact that LDS thinking about Book of Mormon historicity has been, and continues to be, diverse. Granted that revisionists constitute a stigmatized and evidently very small minority, who differ among themselves in their understanding of the book’s status as scripture. But even Latter-day Saints who accept historicity hold differing views regarding how accurately or transparently the Book of Mormon reports the ancient past or to what extent the translation process may have allowed Joseph Smith’s nineteenth-century ideas to be incorporated into the text.[/LEFT]

Ah, so Mormons are experiencing some of the same ‘growing pains’ that Protestants experience.:eek:


What he says in there is actually not true. The author of the article is probably one of the “liberal” ones who is expressing his own frustrations at Mormonism. The great majority of faithful LDS believe, and have always believed, in the full historicity of the Book of Mormon. The so called “liberals” are a tiny minority whom nobody in the Church takes seriously. They are the kind of people who in fact do not survive in the Church very long. They either leave the Church or go inactive over time, and just throw Parthian shots at the Church from the sidelines which nobody cares about. This author appears to be one of those.

The LDS Church demands a lot of dedication and commitment from its members. It is not a spectator church like the Catholic Church. And you cannot give it that kind of dedication and commitment unless you are 100% converted to the truth of its core tenets, which includes the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Someone who doesn’t believe in that will find it very difficult to give it that kind of commitment, and will eventually find himself alienated and marginalized from the main body of it, and will be reduced to writing the kind of nonsense such as the one in that paragraph.


A Mormon wrote this:

are a tiny minority whom nobody in the Church takes seriously.

Huh, irony?

Note: The Catholic Church worldwide has added more members in the last 36-48 months than the total number of Mormons worldwide.

Speaking of “tiny minorities”, could you imagine someone starting a Southwestern United States Hindu group, or a Texan Jewish group? NO, you couldn’t. You would call anyone claiming to be a NEW prophet of these religions a loon (particularly if they also held some of the completely illogical beliefs of Joseph Smith.) That is precisely what Mormonism represents: a geographically isolated manmade belief system. Ironically, the geography allowed it to grow because it didn’t have to stand side by side with serious theology, or competitive logic for that matter - which is why it makes no lasting headway anywhere else. As Catholic’s, we’ll take Mormons “seriously” as human beings, but respectfully cast Mormonism as what it is: absurd.

Oh, those darn fallacies… :rolleyes:

Mormonism is true.


Actually it is true. In Mormonism, the Church is run by its members. The bishops, clergy, the ecclesiastical officers are the same as ordinary Church members. We contribute not only financially, but of our time and talent to the running of the Church. In the Catholic Church, going to church is like going to a movie. You go to a bad movie on Sunday, get bored, are glad to return home asp, and have nothing to do with it until repeating the same process again next Sunday. Without exaggeration or ill intent, it is a spectator church.


:confused: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is anything but isolated. Obviously not as widespread as the Catholic Church, but still not isolated.

Note: And the number of converts is hardly a measure of how true a religion is. Islam has had loads of converts, probably more than the Orthodox Church. Does that make Islam more valid than Eastern Orthodoxy?

zerinus, you’ve used this before. Don’t you have any new schtick?

Remember? You’re the ones who are running movies in your temples.

I’ll let all the lay people I know who works their butts off, that they are just observing.

I am sure there are lay people in the Catholic Church who do great volunteer work. But they form a small minority of the congregation. The majority of the people do nothing. They just get bored! In the LDS Church, the members run the whole show. They are the priests, the ministers, the bishops. They preach the sermons, administer the sacraments, teach the lessons, the whole lot. Everybody has something to do. And they don’t get paid for it either. That is the difference.


zerinus, you are implying that somehow the laity is a different kind of Catholic than the clergy. We’re all Catholic. We all serve God. The laity are involved in everything you list. If you believe that a priest can do everything there is to do, alone, you must believe they are super humans.

You shouldn’t pretend like you know what you are talking about.

You know perfectly well what I mean. In the LDS Church there is no distinction between laity and clergy. They are one and the same (as was the case in the primitive church). We do not have a professional clergy.

I don’t normally reply to your posts. I only do that occasionally so others do not misunderstnad. I don’t really care what you think and what you don’t think.


and the lies get bolder and bolder.

a “tiny minority” of the “laity” in the LDS church do all of the heavy lifting. every memeber isn’t personally involved in every aspect. the differences are that catholic lay people volunteer for positions they want to serve in and actually get training and support for those “callings”. Mormons are assigned taskings for the purpose of keeping them engaged.

there is a HUGE difference between mormon General Authorities and the rank and file members. they are paid quite nicely for their ministry but aren’t really trained or educated in any of what they do.

the catholic church is no more of a “spectator” church than the mormons are. you will find members of many churches who go through the motions. i have seen LOTS of mormons who fit that category as well as armies of “less actives”.

your vitriolic hate of the catholic church is mostly due to your need to eliminate any and all claims to the historical Christian church so that you can peddle your apostasy myth while trolling for weak minded people to deceive with your “milk before meat”. no one is buying it here and your self important dismissals of contrary opinions have became amusing.:rolleyes:


Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen Gentium

  1. By divine institution Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity. “For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another”.(191) Therefore, the chosen People of God is one: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”(192); sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because “there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all ‘one’ in Christ Jesus”.(193)
    If therefore in the Church everyone does not proceed by the same path, nevertheless all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God.(194) And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. For the distinction which the Lord made between sacred ministers and the rest of the People of God bears within it a certain union, since pastors and the other faithful are bound to each other by a mutual need. Pastors of the Church, following the example of the Lord, should minister to one another and to the other faithful. These in their turn should enthusiastically lend their joint assistance to their pastors and teachers. Thus in their diversity all bear witness to the wonderful unity in the Body of Christ. This very diversity of graces, ministries and works gathers the children of God into one, because “all these things are the work of one and the same Spirit”.(195)
    Therefore, from divine choice the laity have Christ for their brothers who though He is the Lord of all, came not to be served but to serve.(196) They also have for their brothers those in the sacred ministry who by teaching, by sanctifying and by ruling with the authority of Christ feed the family of God so that the new commandment of charity may be fulfilled by all. St. Augustine puts this very beautifully when he says: “What I am for you terrifies me; what I am with you consoles me. For you I am a bishop; but with you I am a Christian. The former is a duty; the latter a grace. The former is a danger; the latter, salvation” (1*).


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is anything but isolated. Obviously not as widespread as the Catholic Church, but still not isolated.

No, its not isolate… What? Are you being serious? It doesn’t primarily, and all demographics show this, have the vast majority of its adherents living in Utah and southern Idaho?

I am sure there are lay people in the Catholic Church who do great volunteer work

The Catholic Church invented and institutionalized the idea of “volunteer work.” Still, after thousands of years, its the largest charity organization in the world.

Its unfortunate for this dialogue to have a negative tone, but really, did God tell Joseph Smith that black people weren’t Human Beings centuries after the Catholic Church had black Saints. Or is it more likely he made the whole thing up?

Ah Z is on one today. Well sorry to burst your bubble Z but Mormon General Authorities are paid large salaries and most live in Big mansions here in Utah up on the east side of Salt Lake city. For verification that they are indeed paid please call the office of the LDs first presidency at 18012401000 we have called them on numerous occasions and they are happy to answer questions. Also if you have a copy of Mormon doctrine by Mcconkie look up the word tithing it says; One of the modern purposes of tithing is to pay for the maintenance of those who are required to give their full attention day in and day out, to the work of the Lord… I realize this is not widely known however it is absolutely true. We went to visit my wife’s former mission president at his invitation. We arrived at his address and found he lived in a huge mansion with an indoor swimming pool etc. and two 50,000 dollar+ cars parked outside. We had heard how some GA’s were rich before they became church leaders and asked him where he got all his money, he frankly said, I thought you knew I am a general authority of the church. We replied yes but your not paid for that where did you make all your money? he said General Authorities are paid, I receive a salary from the church…
Conversely, Christ told his followers to sell all they have and come follow him. In the Catholic church all Priests, Bishops, religious etc. take a vow of poverty. They do not own houses or cars etc. and cannot pass on the house or car given them to their relatives etc. It all belongs to Christ.

Mormonism is true??? B. H. Roberts was known as a great defender of Mormonism. As a Historian and General Authority of the LDS Church, he is still considered one of the greatest scholars the LDS Church has ever had. He wrote the six volume book “Comprehensive History of the Church,” and many other works as well including “Book of Mormon Difficulties, a Study” which is now available in bookstores. The study was originally written for the Leadership of the LDS church from the standpoint of an advocate pointing out problems in the Book of Mormon. B. H. Roberts remained a LDS leader until his death. It is clear that he had come to question the Book of Mormon. B. H. Roberts typewritten manuscript “Book of Mormon Difficulties” is over 400 pages long, in it he admitted that the Book of Mormon is in conflict with what is now known from 20th century archaeological investigation about the early inhabitants of America. After going into a lengthy explanation of impossibilities in the Book of Mormon he also says that he has come to discover things he didn’t know earlier in his life, for instance, that Joseph Smith did have access to a number of books that could have assisted him and given him ideas for the Book of Mormon.
Roberts tells how Joseph’s mother wrote in her book, “History of Joseph Smith,” that long before Joseph had received the gold plates, he gave: “…most amazing recitals… he would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, their mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare, and also their religious worship. This he would to with much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.” (Quoted from B. H. Robert’s manuscript, page 280.)Roberts then goes on to say that Joseph could have gotten his information from “knowledge” that existed in the community, because of the books like Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews” (published nearby in 1823) and Josiah Priest’s book, “The Wonders of Nature and Providence,” published only 20 miles away, about one year later. That book had lots to say about the Hebrew origin of American Indians and their advanced culture and civilization. Roberts then asks:
"…Whence comes the young prophet’s ability to give these descriptions ‘with as much ease as if he had spent his whole life’ with these ancient inhabitants of America? Not from the Book of Mormon, which is as yet, a sealed book to him… These evening recitals could come from no other source than the vivid, constructive imagination of Joseph Smith, a remarkable power which attended him through all his life. It was as strong and varied as Shakespeare’s and no more to be accounted for than the English Bard’s." (From B. H. Roberts’ typewritten manuscript, page 281.) There would be much, much more to say why the Book of Mormon is not an ancient record but an obvious production of a very intelligent and creative person, Joseph Smith, who used a number of books, including the Bible, to create this book. Roberts freely admits that “there is a certain lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an undeveloped mind as their origin. The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency.” For example; When Lehi left Jerusalem, according to the Book of Mormon, his group consisted of fewer than 20 people. Yet 19 years later the people had so prospered and multiplied in the promised land that they built a temple which “manner of construction was like unto the temple of Solomon: and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine” (2. Ne. 5:16). Looking at what the Bible says about the construction of Solomon’s temple, we find that it took thirty thousand Israelites, a hundred and fifty thousand hewers of stone and carriers, three thousand three hundred supervisors (I Kings 5:13-16) and about seven years to build it. (See also I Kings 6.) And how many people could Lehi have had in his group after 19 years? The book further tells that in less than 30 years after arriving on this continent, they had multiplied so rapidly that they even divided into two great nations. Even the most rapid human reproduction could only have a few dozen in that brief time, and most of them still would be infants and children and about one-third older people. Not only did they divide into “two great nations,” but throughout the book, about every three or four years, they had devastating wars that killed thousands. In Ether, chapter 6, we learn that furious winds propelled the barges to the promised land for 344 days! Even if the winds were not “furious,” but, for example, blew only 10 miles per hour, the distance traveled in 344 days would have been 82,560 miles, or more than three times around the world.
There is no truth in Mormonism… Run Z Run

Pro, all very interesting. The last part, though, about vows of poverty taken by all priests, religious and bishops isn’t accurate. Only priests, religious and bishops who are members of religious Order make such a vow. Diocesan priests and bishops do not.

Many Bishops and Priests do belong to religious orders. Nonetheless, none of them own the cars or houses they live in while actively serving. They belong to Christ.

I know that many bishops and priests who serve in dioceses belong to religious orders. It’s the diocesan priests who can own cars and houses (houses other than the ones which the diocese owns and in which the priest resides while ministering in a parish).

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