Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where Is the Evidence ?

Funny, how some significant tidbits of information get passed over, to become presumptions.

Other than a nice family whom I have known all my life, and the longtime knock against their one-time polygamous beliefs, my entire knowledge file on the topic of Mormonism consisted of meeting two Mormon missionaries on those familiar bicycles, spreading their faith door to door, back when I lived in Albuquerque. After an initial visit at my apartment there, on a next visit we spoke about Mormon beliefs for hours. One of those guys gave me his own book, which comprised the "Book of Mormon", "The Pearl of Great Price", and "Doctrines and Covenants".
More on these 'parts', later.

I read the Book of Mormon part cover to cover, though it took me some months. And I must admit to feeling a slight sense of personal pride in learning that Mormons believe that American Indians are the lost tribe of Israel, the true Jews. I read of the terrific battles between the jealous brothers Nephi and Laman, two of the four sons of Lehi, and how the victor, Laman was the 'father' of all Indian, indigenous peoples of the Americas.

I read about how Joseph Smith found the gold plates, buried near a hillside in Western New York, after being led there by the resurrected spirit of the prophet Moroni.

And I generally had no problem with believing the story told therein, about the resurrected Jesus Christ appearing to his other children, the Lamanites, here in North America.

Because Jesus is awesome!

But. But there, my understanding ended. And my presumptions took over.

Thanks to my Choctaw heritage, a course or two in anthropology from OU, general learning and my BIA job, I knew, I accepted that the American Indian came to this land by way of the frozen land bridge between Northeast Asia and Alaska tens of thousands of years ago, and spreading and settling North, Central and South America, even the Caribbean islands.

From that genial meeting and visitation with Mormon missionaries, until last weekend, I thought my knowledge of that religion was satisfactory. But thanks to a friend within the Oklahoma Bloggers group, my pal Oklahoma Lefty, and a question he asked over there: "Does anyone out there think that a non-Christian can be elected?" I took up a quest to learn more about "the Mormons".
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney piqued my interest as well. So did some mean questions posed against his Mormonism by other candidates.

I decided to investigate Mormonism. Doing so exposed those presumptions of mine to be very incorrect. Naive`.

Doing so made me conclude that Mormonism is a cult. With absolutely no basis in truth.
False. Pitiful.

Silly me. To have never questioned "WHY" there are no archaeological remains ever found from ancient Lamanite cities in the Americas; to have never questioned why there are no relics, no evidence at all from the mighty battles claimed to have been fought; or how no Indian, no Native American, no South American native DNA can be traced back to a Hebrew origin. Aboriginal DNA can be traced back to Mongolia and North central Asia, conclusively. A 99.6% accuracy. The remaining 4/10ths are traced to European or African origins.

Histories other than that found in the Old and New Testaments show that there has always been towns called Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Beth-Sheva. And archaeological excavations conclusively prove that these towns have had a continuous existence for the last 3,000 years at least. In these excavations are found tools, weapons and coins, as well as the evidence of just everyday existence.

There are no such proofs of existence of large Nephite or Lamanite cities, nor battles, nor coinage anywhere in the Americas. None whatsoever.

If Jesus Christ came to spread Christianity to the natives of this continent, two thousand years ago, before He ascended into Heaven, why were there no examples of Christianity found, when the European explorers discovered and explored America? Indeed, from Colombus to LaSalle to the Mayflower emigrants, the natives were instead uncivilized heathens. Christianity was only introduced by the various missionaries after 1492 a.d.

The stories told in the Book of Mormon are not substantiated by evidence. And if the book is incorrect in these founding principles and beliefs, then what is the Book of Mormon?

A work of fiction. Not "Another testament of Jesus Christ", as advertised.

But if it were only a fictitious novel, believed by millions of people, that would be termed 'sad'.
Ya know, I love J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of books, and I believe in Middle Earth, in Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Gollum and Sauron, because Tolkien vividly described the scenery and characters so very well. But I would never dare to expect to find solid evidence to prove the existence of the Shire or Minas Tirith.
Like the "one ring to rule them all" has never existed, neither do the "golden plates" of Joseph Smith.


Dave said...

I had an email discussion a few years ago on the question "when does a cult become a religion?" I've resurrected the discussion on my blog. It's not something that is easily answered, that is for sure.

The Localmalcontent said...

I'm there, man. This is something needing discussing, IMO.

One Southern Belle said...

According to you, your only interaction with Mormons was 1) a nice family you have known all your life and 2) a couple of young missionaries, one of whom gave you his own book.  Am I right so far?

But you don't believe the history behind the Book of Mormon, is that correct?

So because you don't buy into the history of their religion, now these really nice people whom you've known all your life are suddenly members of a cult?  Wow, that's quite a jump! Since when does general disagreement qualify someone for "cult status?"

I understand you are Methodist.  I know the Methodists accept the Nicean Creed.  Frankly, I daresay I find the Nicean Creed about as odd as you find the history of the LDS church.  I mean, the Council at Nicea was convened in 325 AD to address several issues--among them the "trinity in unity."  Together a bunch of clergymen, philosophers and dignitaries got together to discuss how to "change" the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to stave off threats to their power and amend their "truths" to meet their contemporary needs.  This, of course, including changing the long-held belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as three beings (a belief held by the earliest Christians) into an incomprehensible "separate persons/one being" concept still known as "the mystery of the trinity."  This belief, still held by you and many other good people around the world did not come to pass by way of revelation from God through a prophet (such as had happened in the past with men like Noah and Moses.)  Rather, this "doctrine" was the result of heated debate and discussion, a theological arm wrestling match.  The Nicean Creed is not a part of the Bible, yet good, Christian people adhere to the tenets set forth therein.  I happen to disagree with them.  I do not, however, in ANY way, consider Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics, etc. to be members of a cult.  To do so would be unfair, irrational, and frankly, unChristian.

Here's yet another area where you and I will disagree--I believe Jesus. You have nothing but good to say regarding the Mormons with whom you've personally come in contact, yet you ask, "Where is the evidence?" Yes, Mal,  I believe Jesus and clearly you have a big beef with Him. I'm speaking specifically here about the Sermon on the Mount in which the Savior said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."  Where is the evidence, indeed?

The Localmalcontent said...

Countering with ad hominem responses, southernbelle?
When a holy book is changed or corrected over 4,000 times since it's "discovery", yet still maintains that it is the inspired word of God, in fact superior to the Bible, I have a problem with that.

That nice family I've known all my life are still some very good frineds. Yeah, now I see them as cult followers, despite them being some of the nicest folks I know.
I never implied that cult followers could not be "nicest...', you have.
For it is not a jump-- for me.
The rest of your comment is very typical of you. Without defending the claims I make regarding the fallacies of Mormonism, you in turn begin your attack on my religion.
Showing no validating proofs of the claims within the Book of Mormon by you, my initial claim stands.
My post's contention IS that everything contained in the inspired Book of Mormon is fiction:
such as the Mormon belief that God Almighty was Adam; was the physical personage who impregnated Mary; and that the Book of Mormon claims to restore those "plain and precious things" which are (subtracted from the Holy Bible) necessary for the salvation of mankind (I Nephi 13:26-40; 3:166-193). Faith in the Book of Mormon thus becomes an added condition for salvation besides faith in Jesus Christ.

The character and intentions of Joseph Smith are now in serious question. And can no more be called a 'prophet', than Mohammad or L. Ron Hubbard.

I take it, onesouthernbelle, you are a Mormon?

Red S Tater said...

Holy crapola dude, you've gotta get away from this psycho chick....NOW !