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Oaks, Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Critics' Arguments Latter-day Saints are repeatedly encouraged to rely on a witness of the spirit i. Holy Ghost to personally authenticate the truthfulness of the origins and content of the Book of Mormon.
Given constant encouragement from general and local leaders of reliance on supernatural manifestations a testimony over testable claims, it Curses or coincidences not surprising that many faithful Latter-Day Saints seem unfazed by empirical evidence or the lack of it contradicting Book of Mormon claims, whether the research is conducted by Mormon or non-Mormon archaeologists and historians.
Of even greater concern is that many faithful LDS members, by virtue of the admonition of their leaders mentioned aboveare not even aware of the perplexing problems contained in the Book of Mormon text.
As a result, they are usually unable to effectively dialogue with critics without resorting to faith-based claims in a testimony which carry no authoritative weight for Curses or coincidences many dedicated experts in the fields of archaeology, history, linguistics, genetics, etc.
This page details some problems that arise by accepting the Church-sanctioned teachings of the origin and content of the BOM as well as responses to those problems from the LDS Church, apologists and devout members.
Anachronisms An anachronism is when writing contains something from a future time period which couldn't realistically be in the time period they've written it into.
Count the clock," with Cassius replying, "The clock has stricken three. Shakespeare took something familiar to him, a clock that strikes the hours, and placed it in his story before such clocks existed. Because the play is fictional, it is seen as simply an error on Shakespeare's part.
If, however, someone were to claim that they had found an ancient writing from 44 BC that had the play written on it, it would clearly be seen as a forgery because of the clock anachronism.
If the play "Julius Caesar" were purported to be a historical document, originally written in Latin in 44 BC and translated by someone in the 's, claiming that God gave them the translation of that document, would that one clock anachronism be enough for you to disbelieve that it was truly from 44 BC or a translation from God?
If it would require more than one anachronism for you to disbelieve, how many such anachronisms would be needed for you to realize the writing was not what it claimed to be?
For many apologists, if something is possible, no matter how implausible, that is enough to assuage their concerns. For critics, the idea is not what is possible, but what is probable.
What is the probability of a reference to a clock that strikes hours realistically appearing in a document from 44 BC?
A "Julius Caesar" apologist would believe so much in the historicity of the "Julius Caesar" document that she would try any method possible to wave away the clock anachronism.
The critic would try to prove the clock was an anachronism, thereby proving its fraudulent provenance. The apologist may say that what the original document was referring to was simply a sundial, but the person translating it knew that it was some sort of timepiece and chose a timepiece they were familiar with, a clock.
The critic would point out that the phrase "count the clock" and the word "stricken" clearly refer to clocks that make noise and that in the particular scene in "Julius Caesar" it was 3: So, although the apologist's explanation seemed to make sense, on further examination it crumbles.
The apologist cannot leave it there, she must do whatever twisting and turning it takes to maintain her belief in the "truthfulness" of the document and its translation. This will lead to ever more absurd explanations and possibly outright lies to protect her belief about the historicity of the document at all costs.
Anachronisms in the Book of Mormon present a problem for the truthfulness of Joseph Smith's statements that a the gold plates existed and b they contained a historical account from the time period it claims.
It might be easy to brush off an anachronism or two, but how many anachronisms need to be found in the Book of Mormon for someone to say that the book was not what Joseph claimed it to be?
Both critics and apologists understand that for each verifiable anachronistic item appearing in the Book of Mormon the odds increase significantly that the book's origins and content are not what they are claimed to be. Not only does an increase in the frequency of anachronisms increase the probability that a work is not historically accurate, but the nature in which the anachronistic word is used can do so as well.
In the clock example above, if "clock" were mentioned alone, it would be easier to pass off as some sort of translation error. But when the idea within which the anachronistic word is embedded relies on a specific meaning for that word, such as the idea that the clock must "strike" and be used at night, then the probability of it being an actual anachronism instead of just a simple mistake increases.
When one looks at the frequency and context of Book of Mormon anachronisms "horses" in the BOM are often found coupled with either "chariots" or "cattle," both of which are also anachronismsit's hard to imagine any other origin than it being the product of the mind s of a 19th century author s.These coincidences are guaranteed to blow your mind.
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