How BYU Destroyed Ancient Book of Mormon Studies

From a leading LDS apologist and professor at BYU. Fascinating read.

Although many people might find it incredible, every single BYU administrator on every level of the administration has explicitly discouraged me from doing ancient Book of Mormon studies in my annual performance (“stewardship”) reviews. They have all explicitly told me to focus my research and publications on non-Book of Mormon topics, such as the crusades. In part this was good advice on their part; they were telling me if you want to be successful at BYU, don’t publish on the Book of Mormon or publish with FARMS or later Interpreter. More broadly, you must publish outside the “BYU Bubble”—that is, BYU or LDS sponsored publications. Only people hired to teach Mormon history should publish on Mormonism. Only publications in non-LDS-related venues are viewed as legitimate scholarship. Since non-LDS publications generally do not accept ancient Book of Mormon studies as a legitimate discipline, this essentially means that no publication on ancient Book of Mormon studies can be acceptable as authentic scholarship at BYU.

“Ancient” Book of Mormon studies? I would hazard a guess that is why BYU doesn’t want in-depth studies - they would show it isn’t ancient.

The Mormon apologist who wrote that article has a reputation for being more obnoxious than most. :rolleyes:

He had a rather acrimonious blog exchange recently. I pointed a person who had BYU on a list of possibilities for their child to the exchange. I haven’t seen them recently I’ll have to ask what they thought when I see them again.

Well, if any of what is said in this blog post is true, then I say BYU/LDS church has gone soft. A thorn in the side of LDS church leaders, originating with BYU, used to be removed by excommunicating the thorns from the LDS church.

In rank order, they are William Schryver, Daniel Peterson, and William Hamblin. Schryver is the worst, IMHO. I had the two mixed up. Peterson has suffered numerous reverses in the past few years, and has (superficially?) mellowed as a result.

This from the comments is enough for a belly laugh:

As LDS is, RLDS once was. As CoC now is LDS may become.

I read on a forum elsewhere that there are many secret non-believers within the BYU organization. Would not be surprised if they end up being a strong force for change. After all, intellectualism and Mormonism are in opposition.

This is something I’ve never understood, how intelligent people, especially those raised in the Christian faith could believe Mormonism

Ancient BoM studies only goes back to 1820ish. Kind of an oxymoron right?

Well, the authors’ sources went back further. :shrug: Bible, Sturlason’s Heimskringla, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s* History of the Kings of England*, Francesco Claivigero’s History of Mexico, Marco Polo, William Shakespeare, John Bunyan are some of the possibilities. Doubt if they study much of them at BYU, or if they do, they won’t admit any similarities with the BOM. :shrug:

I see it more as academia being academia. Apologetics is not scholarship. The two have fundamentally different approaches and the higher ups rightfully recognize this and want the university to be taken seriously.

Yes, I can agree with you on that. Apologetics is answering criticism and challenges to belief. Teaching the truth should come first. Outside agencies cannot take seriously any university whose primary purpose is indoctrination. Their programs which have the best reputation do not have anything to do with theology, philosophy, world literature, or history.

The definition of ancient is "belonging to the very long past and “no longer in existence”. Why in the world is that word being used with a book associated a 192 year old religion?

Because the Book of Mormon, according to the LDS, is ancient.

I posted this because I am just amazed. The answer to his question is so obvious. And I think he knows it. He is a smart guy, with a very intelligent family :p… ok, I’ll come clean. I am a relative of his. Yup, I got Hamblin blood pulsing through my veins. …We’ve thought him to be obnoxious for a very long time.

Anyway, I think he knows that any critical, scientific study of the Book of Mormon will not lead to stronger testimonies. I just need to start going to the Hamblin family Christmas parties again and maybe I could get him to spill the beans.

Well, it’s also because the Book of Mormon purports to recount ancient historical events, none of which have ever come close to being proven by serious archeological or anthropological studies.

They can’t focus on it because it doesn’t exist.

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