Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Speaks Out on the Book of Mormon and the Failed Attempts of Critics to Explain It Away

If you missed the General Conference talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Twelve Apostles and the former President of Brigham Young University, you really should see it. He makes an important point about the last hours of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, as they were in prison and about to be killed. They faced the likelihood of death from a hate-filled mob, stirred up and led by religious zealots. For comfort and strength, they turned to the ancient writings of Moroni in Ether, chapter 12, in the Book of Mormon. Hyrum read some of that text to Joseph, including these verses:

37. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

38. And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.

Hyrum dog-eared that page in his Book of Mormon, marking the spot that they had turned to for comfort. Elder Holland held that very copy of the Book of Mormon in his hand as he spoke of this, and then made an excellent point. If this book were a fraud, why would these two men in their final hours turn to it for spiritual comfort? Why would they blaspheme God in their final moments by reading from fake scripture that they had composed to deceive others? Their final moments only add to the magnitude of their witness and the witness of many others that the Book of Mormon is for real, that it is an ancient and divine text, not the clumsy work of an unschooled fraud. Elder Holland goes on to explain that the pathetic attempts by our critics to explain away the Book of Mormon and offer alternate explanations for its origins have failed and failed miserably. The challenge remains unmet and the witnesses for authenticity (including physical and other evidence for plausibility) of that ancient record are greater than ever. It has withstood decades of assaults and, in my opinion, is “truer than ever” as we learn more about it and the ancient world.

Here are Youtube videos of his talk, split into two ten-minute segments. If you’re in a hurry, go to the second video, which begins just after he explains how Hyrum while in Carthage jail had read from the book he holds in his hands.

Part One:

Part Two:

Elder Holland’s words are powerful, moving, and wise. As Elder Holland’s own great grandfather said, “No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it–unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”

Update, July 2012: Some critics have howled about the horrific, cynical dishonesty of Elder Holland in holding up a book that they think is not the real book. The confusion is understandable since it appears that the Church owns two similar books, one that is the original and one that is a similar edition that had the same page dog-eared like the book that Hyrum had. This was made clear in a Deseret News story on the talk and the book. The vitriol and name calling in this case says much about some of our critics. Such anger, such anxiousness to criticize, such unwillingness to even wonder if it was just a mistake. But the mistake appears to have been an earlier Church news story that showed the copy, not the original that Elder Holland was holding. I think it’s fair to grant that Elder Holland asked for the original to be brought to him, and whether it was the original or not, I think it’s fair to accept that he was not knowingly lying about the book. The story is true and the point he makes about Hyrum and Joseph turning to it in their final moments still adds to their witness of the Book of Mormon, regardless of which of the two similar books Elder Holland had on the pulpit with him.

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Author: Jeff Lindsay

63 thoughts on “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Speaks Out on the Book of Mormon and the Failed Attempts of Critics to Explain It Away

  1. Best talk on the Book of Mormon that I have ever heard! Even my daughters sat quietly on our chairs and listened. Hopefully my oldest gleaned all that her six year old mind is able to, and remembers it for a while.

    It's sad though to know how necessary this talk was. Keep in mind that this wasn't so much for the critics but the members. This tells me that more and more are doubting the truth of the historicity of The Book of Mormon and, still claiming to be faithful members (wolves are growing in numbers) . The Lord is certainly quickening the time before his coming.

  2. Splendid message and presentation. Elder Holland rocks. The BoM has taken on all critics and came through unscathed. We are blessed indeed.

  3. I have a question. I am a Christian (not a mormon) but would not consider myself "anti-mormon" or a "critic" or anything like that- I am just curious and trying to understand your religion.

    I think the most difficult part in believing that the BOM is true (for me, anyway) is the historical accuracy. How do mormons explain that? Is that another matter of trusting in the "burning bosom"?

    (I do hope that my questions are taken sincerely, because they really are.)

    1. Dear Friend and Brother, You are appreciated for your honest desire for accurate and concise question. I for one believe the question to be valid. Not for the historical accuracy alone, but more appropriately for its intrinsic value of truth. Like we may concern ourselves with the accuracy of the Bible as we know it today. We only discover its truthfulness (The Bible) is by reading, se a rching, ans ultimately ask the Lord for prompting your spirit by the Holy Spirit, testifying to you personally of the divinity of its validity, not just because someone told you to read it and pray about the deeper meanings contained therein. There are more reasons for experiencing the divine touch and testimony of it truthfulness. You would sincerely desire of the Bible's testimony of who you are in relation to God. Who He is and wants with respect to you personally. He know you and would accept your acknowledging His desire as only a father could in sharing all He has, including scripture. It certainly would be great if we today could have the writings of all the Apostles who were the Savior's may have left for future generations in order to bring us closer to Christ. Why not have additional written testimonies from all the Prophets, Apostles a new othe Holy men and women? The simple answer is that most probably their writing may or may not be available to us sometime. Time will tell if and when other scripture exist and we are blessed in receiving them. Likewise, the writings of the Book of Mormon is not all complete and available at this time. More may be revealed. If for instance we only had the first 5 Books of the New Testament, would we be acceptable when other Books of Prophets and/or Apostles come to light and added to the New Testament? My sincere answer is "Yes" indeed. As many other Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well many non-members throughout the world would attest honestly and sincerely desire 'if it is true. The only absolute knowledge and personal attestation would the rely on one's personal supplication to the only One would tell you in your heath and mind, is to invite God's reveal to you personally of the truth of the Book of Mormon. May you follow your search and be willing to 'listen' and accept it as another Testament of Jesus Christ. I did that and will certainly witness to you of the importance of His revealed Word. All of what is available at this time. Again, you are blessed with an inquiring mind. Continue in your personal need to know. Please take good care of yourself and your loved one. Blessings, Ed van Gass.

  4. Anon, I've said this elsewhere, but the main difficulty in establishing rock-solid evidence of every individual part of the book is that we simply don't know enough about some of the core issues to do so adequately. For example, there is NO way to know where it occurred, based solely on the book itself. Also, we have NO idea of the DNA of the group – since they were NOT Jewish, and we don't know the maternal lineage at all for the Nephites/Lamanites OR the Jaredites (so DNA issues are completely unresolvable).

    However, much of the first book (1 Nephi) is set in the Old World and can be subjected to much more reasonable scrutiny – and it passes with flying colors. There simply is NO way someone in the early 1800's could have written that part of the book as accurately as it is written, and if that part is accurate ("true"), then the rest can't be a fabrication, fraud or merely inspired fiction.

    Until someone can disprove the first few dozen pages, the rest has to stand – because we simply don't know enough to refute it.

    I think it's instructive that nobody has debunked in a scholarly manner what should be the most easily debunkable portion – that EVERY CRITIC now focuses on the rest of it which can't be "proven" yet one way or the other.

    PS. One more point:

    Based on my reading and research, I believe that the Jaredites probably were from the Asian steppes, which means that the Book of Mormon probably claims that the earliest recorded settlers of the Americas (and probably the dominant ancestors genealogically) were of north-eastern Asian descent. Seems like the recent research is validating the book in totally unexpected ways, when we focus on what it actually seems to say.

  5. It's interesting that I have the exact opposite view of the BOM. I think it becomes less "true" every year as we learn more about archeology, DNA, textual issues and as more and more of "the most correct book on Earth's" many changes and permutations come to light. I think that one day it won't matter to Mormons, like the Bible, if the BOM is historically accurate, so long as it brings souls to Christ. It seems people are already taking that view of the Book of Abraham.

    As for Holland's speech, the only thing authoritative about it was his tone. I think I have some legitimate concerns regarding the BOM, none of which have been satisfactorily answered. In that sense, I crawled away from Mormonism through the BOM, not around it.

  6. The Book of Mormon, in my mind, is absolutely the Word of God, and anybody who has once had a testimony of its truthfulness, and then departed from that testimony will one day have to stand before their Maker and answer for their own transgression.

    I have read the Book of Mormon many times, I have prayed to know whether or not it was a fabrication. I know that the spiritual experiences I had from those incidences definitely are from God, confirming to me that it is true – and no mortal man can make me think otherwise.

    Individuals may depart from the Iron Rod and head off through the mists of darkness towards the tower and join the detractors, but this much I KNOW is true:

    "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; . . . the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

    And that includes the Book of Mormon.

    It pains me to know that members of the Church will fall away from the Gospel teachings, but this is nothing new. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know that no man with no more than a third grade education could have written it in 50-something days.

    Yes, Sam, there are evidences of it's authenticity available. If you truly have questions that need to be answered regarding its validity then I'd advise you get on your knees, plead with your Father in Heaven, with real intent, ask Him those specific questions that may be thwarting your belief, and He will answer your prayers. But you need to do it with real intent.

    You can also go talk with your Bishop or others members of your ward.

    *********************

    The church will go on with or without dissenters. The church does not NEED us. We NEED the church.

    I'm so grateful to be a member of this church and to know that there are a number of other faithful saints out there, folks like "Zera Pulsipher" and "Clean Cut" and Jeff Lindsay, who have deep testimonies of the truthfulness of this work.

  7. "The church will go on with or without dissenters. The church does not NEED us. We NEED the church."

    That is wrong. The church needs us, for without us, there would be no church. But we do not need the church. We need our Savior, Jesus Christ. Putting the church, or the Book of Mormon, or anything else in His place is idolatry. We are all idolaters in need of repentance and the grace of God.

  8. The Church absolutely needs us, since we ARE "the Church". It might not need every single person, but it is poorer every time it loses someone – even if it is necessary to do so and/or unavoidable.

    I'm not advocating watering down doctrine so that no member ever leaves, nor am I advocating a cessation of excommunication, but even when the most bitter anti-Mormon member leaves the Church is poorer for it – better off, perhaps, but poorer.

  9. I think that one day it won't matter to Mormons, like the Bible, if the BOM is historically accurate, so long as it brings souls to Christ. It seems people are already taking that view of the Book of Abraham.

    Source? Conference talk? Ensign/Liahona article? EFY speaker?

    I've only ever heard that sentiment from the kinds of apologetic circles which also preach diluted forms prophetic authority/revelation and such, which makes it highly suspect IMHO.

    What I usually encounter in the wild is either a complete lack of an opinion or else a set belief (or disbelief) and an attitude of "Let the scientists and apologists have fun squabbling."

  10. I felt like I was watching history happen while listening to Elder Holland's talk. I think it will be talked about and remembered for years.

  11. So Sam explain one way that archeology or DNA science have taken away plausibility from the book? DNA science is worthless for proving or disproving it because we do not have a sample of Lehi's tribes DNA hence nothing to compare it to. As for archeology it has become more and more plausible with each and every little discovery in Mesoamerica. Such as the Hundreds of sites they are finding through infrared satellite imaging because the limestone and other things have effected the fauna. none of these are even being excavated yet the fact that they exist shows that the area was much more populated then previously thought and that many more cultures existed and coexisted with each-other then previously thought. But alas ignorance is bliss, and most would much rather fain ignorance the be held accountable to the teachings in the book. Here's a URL

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/multimedia/photos/2006/photos06-018.html

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3401/03.html

    What's of note is that they have now only been using this method for a couple of years. While this in and of its self has no bearing on the historicity of the Book of Mormon it shows how little we know and adds plausibility to the settings of mas wars etc described, which were btw almost wholly unknown in Joseph Smith's day.

  12. It seems to me that the more the BOM comes under scrutiny, the more if falls down. There are so many issues with the text, and ultimately I truly feel that the way the Lord is represented in the BOM is so incongruous with his earlier depictions, it all falls apart. Not to mention that (after having read through both the website proposed, and other defenders) nothing for the BOM is solid evidence. It all points at "well, maybe it was this" but the evidence against it is sound and resolute from impartial scientists. Ultimately, its defense is as hollow as the text itself. The Bible stands up to archeological scrutiny because it is truly a text from that time. This BOM is sadly not. Not to mention, the BOM has been revised several times (Is it 11 times now?) for a so called "holy text". The Ten Commandments were never revised.

  13. The great scam with critics who call for evidence of elephants, horses, DNA or an ancient ruin that says "Welcome to Zarahemla!" is that producing evidence would not lead to a change or heart.

    If an elephant graveyard were discovered tomorrow in America, would you believe the Book of Mormon is true? or pay tithing, live the word of wisdom, serve in callings, do your home teaching, share the gospel?

    The answer is, probably not. So lack of evidence is an excuse for lack of faith, but producing evidence would not lead to faith. So really, disbelief has nothing to do with the available of evidence.

    So of you don't believe the Book of Mormon is true, that's ok, most people in the world don't. But quit pretending that evidence would lead to faith, because it won't. It only helps people who already have faith.

    The Book of Mormon is either true, or its a complete fabrication. it cannot be some sort of "fictional spiritual narrative", that's ridiculous. If it's true, then its the most important resource we have, with the Bible, in helping us draw near unto Christ. At has for me. If it is not true, then it is a complete fabrication, and you must believe that it was made up by a 21 year old farm boy with a 3rd grade education in 60 working days. You must believe that a 14 year old boy made up a story about seeing God and Christ, endured unspeakable persecution for it his entire life, and die at the hands of an angry mob all to prop up his fraud he started as a boy.

  14. Good Afternoon,

    I thought I'd weigh in here. I'll try to stay away from the anti-lds rhetoric as much as possible. Something that caught my attention was a this statement:

    "I think that one day it won't matter to Mormons, like the Bible, if the BOM is historically accurate, so long as it brings souls to Christ. It seems people are already taking that view of the Book of Abraham."

    The inherent problem that I see with this position is that the very foundation of LDS theology is based upon the BOM being true and accurate. If it is not an accurate record of Christ appearing to the people of the America's an preaching the restored gospel, then it is a lie, and the very foundation of your church is based upon that lie. Consider that JS told everyone he translated this book with the divine help of God. God does not lie, therefore the book translated has to either be true…or it has to be a complete and utter fabrication. This is the corner JS painted himself into with his own words. Your own theology does not allow you the middle ground that other faiths might have with regard to the bible; its an all or nothing proposition.

    With regard to DNA evidence, I would tend to agree that the existence of such evidence might not prove conclusive for folks. What it would do though is give plausibility to the story told. It would give credence.

    As most of you know, I do not believe the BOM to be true. So from my vantage point, I come from the position that Lehi and Nephi never existed in the first place, and that JS fabricated the whole thing. To take a position that maybe the historical accuracy of the BOM won't matter so much, seems wishy-washy, and it adds to your detractors. For me the more I read the BOM, and the more I hear your apostles try to defend it, the less plausible it becomes. It just feels wrong to me. I have more to say, but I have to get back to work…I'll try to finish later.

    Sincerely

    Catholic Defender

  15. CD: I like your point. The "middle way" Mormons who are watering down their belief in the Book of Mormon, don't have a logically tenable position.

    In essence, those Mormons who say they don't believe the events in the BoM really happened are compromising with the church's detractors. That's not faith. And I don't think it's a way to stay grounded in the church, because they are letting outsiders and critics influence what they believe.

    I'll allow Joseph Smith his human errors, just as Moses and other prophets made errors. But Joseph Smith was either a prophet or a con man. There's little to no room for calling him "sincere, but mistaken."

    It's like calling Jesus of Nazareth a "merely good teacher." He called himself the Son of God, so either he was the Son of God, or a liar, or a lunatic.

  16. The Book of Mormon is true and it does indeed draw me closer to Jesus Christ. Since my conversion to Christianity, I have loved and studied the Bible. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Christ and caused me to love the Bible more than ever.

    Living the teachings of this Church strengthens my testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Elder Holland's talk was powerful. Every Conference proves these men to be Apostles of God. I am so grateful to be a part of it, no words can express it!

  17. I'm completely baffled by statements that the more we learn about ancient American archeology the less evidence there is for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Huh?!? What planet do you have to live on to come up with that? It seems to me you have to be awfully ignorant of archeology to say that.

    I also have to laugh at the criticism of the "numerous" revisions the Book of Mormon has gone through – apparently unlike the Bible. Huh?!? The textual revisions to the Book of Mormon are known and extremely well-documented, including the reasons for the changes. Good luck figuring out the changes that have been made to the Bible over the centuries. How do you know the 10 commandments have never changed? Do you have the stone tablets? Dude!

    Somebody please tell me where this cr*p comes from. It makes no sense.

  18. No one said the Bible hadn't undergone revisions. The difference between the Bible and the BOM is very clear, actually. The Bible never claims to be a direct message from God, it is an compilation of various prophets experiences and revelations. It is a Holy book, but it is not the direct word of the Lord. The BOM is supposedly directly from the Lord and therefore should be perfect and exempt to revisions. If it is imperfect, it is not of the Lord, and therefore the entire LDS foundation falls apart. And no, I dont have the stone tablets, but the LDS church doesn't exactly have the golden plates either. And where does attacking the authenticity of the Ten Commandments get you exactly? Um, newsflash, they're part of the LDS church too. Same as the Bible, don't insult the Holy Word. Its one of those foundations of Christianity things. And they've been passed on for thousands of years the exact same way, I'm going to go ahead and say they're pretty intact. Unlike the BOM, which in its very short life, much like the LDS church, has undergone serious changes. And I'm still aware of the fact that horses were brought here by Spanish settlers and werent around during the BOM. Or that some of the passages in the BOM were based off the KJV. No, a little bit of evidence wouldn't change my belief, but if it is true, it should be provable, and it isnt. Other established Christian churches have more than a "burning in the bosom" to prove at least the history of their faith. Its time the LDS church stepped up, or quit coming to my door.

  19. Hi Papa D,

    I won't pretend to be well versed in ancient archeology, I'm not; ;what I will say, is much of the cr** comes from the very mouth of JS and the texts of the LDS apologists and supporters. Hung by the tongue is the phrase that comes to mind. By this I mean that JS's own words and teachings are where much the detractors gather evidence to support their arguments. Its inconsistencies that I see in JS's teachings, and in the BOM that cause me pause, and in fact keep me from believing the BOM to be true. The words and doctrines feel wrong, and do not seem consistent with what I know, and have learned about God during my lifetime.

    What I see as an inherent problem, from what I've heard, is that the largest proponents of the archeological evidence supporting the accuracy of the BOM, are from LDS Archeologists. These guys are necessarily biased, because they want to find proof to support JS. If one were to look at the evidence objectively, which I doubt anyone truly can because strong feelings about LDS doctrine and faith run in both camps, the evidence does not support the BOM.

    The strength of many of the anti-LDS claims, is that they are based in some form of fact. Some of those claims are extremely distorted, but, even the distorted claims have some factual basis at the core drawn upon some LDS claim. For example, the BOM describes these ancient civilizations using steel. But there is no archeological evidence which would support that the ancient Americans knew how to work steel. I used this example, because from what I know about the use of steel, its a highly sophisticated process that would required advanced knowledge. You don't just one day know how to work steel. And, using simple logic and reasoning, there should be some evidence left over from these civilizations which would support that these folks knew how to work steel.

    When you consider the timeline that the BOM supposedly has, we're only talking about a period of about 2500 years in the past at the most, and about 1600 years at the least. That isn't a long period of time in the grand scheme of archeology. It would seem, again just based upon logic, that a vast civilization as described in the BOM would have left some trace…some remnants of cities should be present, dead bodies, skeletal remains, something should be there.

    Consider that the Mayans and the Aztecs are ancient civilizations. These cultures are more or less extinct or interwoven into the South America populace, but we know about their cultures because they were here when the Spanish settlers came. Their buildings didn't just vanish…as the buildings in the BOM seem to have. What's more those cultures were sophisticated enough to have a written language, yet there's no mention of "christian type" people in any of the ancient writings of the Aztecs or Mayans. Seems logical that there should be, especially if those cultures were occupying the same continents and geographical regions. It just seems that folks want so badly to believe the BOM to be true, that they are willing to overlook simple logic and reasoning to get to that conclusion.

    As for translations of the Bible, I think there's an inherent problem in relying upon the KJV. The reason being, the KJV has incorrect translations in it to begin with. The Douay Rhiems Bible was translated directly from the Latin Texts, the KJV was not and it has incorrect translations to begin with. Other translations into english are based on one of these two translations and tend to be watered down to the extent that things are lost in the translation. Its the reliance on the KJV that I think creates some problems for LDS theology. I say that because if the text you're relying on as being the most correct, is in fact not the most correct, then everything you're basing your belief system on, is based on flawed information to start with. That seems problematic to me, but you should believe what ever draws you closer to God.

    Sincerely

    Catholic Defender

  20. Anonymous @6:55 AM – you don't understand what the Book of Mormon is. It is precisely the same type of record as the Bible. It is a compilation of the writings of ancient prophets who lived in the Americas. Please try again. (The comment I made about the 10 Commandments was a response to an earlier commenter who asserted that the 10 Commandments have never been revised. I say – prove it!)

    CD – news flash! Aztecs and Mayans are not South American cultures – you may be thinking Incans. In fact, they are from what is today Mexico and Central America – precisely where Book of Mormon history is thought to have occurred. They themselves, along with the ruins of their mighty cities, are evidence for the Book of Mormon, along with the remnants of the Toltec and Olmec.

    Haven't found any steel yet? So what? You should know there is a fundamental difference between not having found something yet and finding something contradictory. You can't disprove the existence of an ancient civilization by failing to find some specific artifact, like the "Welcome to Zarahemla" sign. That's just plain silliness.

    Making steel isn't as sophisticated as you make it sound. The Japanese have been making steel swords for over a thousand years that we know of. They did it by hand. It's absurd to say the Book of Mormon people couldn't have done it.

  21. In response to changes to the Book of Mormon. There is a text edited by Royal Skousen called "The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text." Royal Skousen calls himself the editor because he gathered all known sources and filled in missing details by analyzing the known details and making an educated (based off of linguistics) guess as to what the word should have been. Yes, Royal Skousen is a BYU professor. The book is published by Yale University Press. The changes made are linguistically interesting and the changes are not nearly as dramatic as some people would have you believe. For all of you who like like to highlight the changes made to the Book of Mormon, pick up a copy for yourself. The price is ridiculously inexpensive given the amount of time (decades I believe) that went into compiling this book (although the book was not the only outcome of this research, several volumes of work has been published based off of his research.) Around $23 at Amazon.

  22. I have one more for Catholic Defender. You say there should be artifacts of a Christian people.
    There is the legend of the bearded white God who would one day return. Here's a cut from an article in The Independent [not a Mormon publication]:

    "LEGENDS SAY that a bearded white man, with fair hair and blue eyes, brought super-knowledge to the Maya. He taught them the mysteries of the heavens, the laws of mathematics and astronomy, and the skills of the artisan. He taught them to build their pyramids and palaces of stone. Above all else, he taught them wisdom; that purification would come though sacrifice, and that immortality awaited the souls of the pure.

    "They say that when he died he became the morning star, Venus. He walked, in turn, among the Olmec, the Teotihuacanos, the Maya, Toltec and Aztec. They called him Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake, god of goodness and wisdom.

    "Others, too, spoke of the bearded white man. The Incas, in Peru, called him Viracocha, while their neighbours the Aymara called him Hyustus. In Bolivia he was known as the "God of the Wind". To the Polynesians he was known as Kon-Tiki, the Sun-God, Always, when he left, his promise was the same: one day he would return.

    "More evidence of the legend of 'Quetzalcoatl' exists in the tomb of the Mayan priest-king Lord Pacal, at Palenque, in Mexico, than anywhere else. We know this from secret pictures encoded into Mayan artefacts, revealed for the first time in 1993, when the code of Maya carving was finally broken. These show Lord Pacal quite clearly, unambiguously, as a feathered snake. They knew, from his teachings, that the sun affected fertility and that the world had been created four times before and that each creation ended in catastrophic destruction, which they blamed on the sun. To them the sun was God.

    "No one has ever explained the connection between the sun and this feathered snake, or the man with the beard, until now.

    "The decoded pictures tell us he took to the throne at the age of 29, and that he was born following an immaculate conception, more than 1,250 years ago in the jungles of Mexico."

    No evidence of Christians. Right. A little distorted by time, especially considering the genocide of the Christians about 1400 years ago, but pretty interesting that this much would survive.

    There's also the issue of the Spanish Conquistadores who destroyed every written record they could find. That didn't help much.

  23. People now are mixing up Pops and Papa D. Just want to make that clear. I am not Pops, and I never post under that name.

  24. If the BOM is from the Lord, why would he send the writings of others? Why wouldn't he say, this is the truth, and my true word? Why a compilation? Just asking. You can't have it both ways folks! It just doesn't make a lick of sense to me. Like most of the LDS doctrine. Its just too conflicting with both itself, and tradional Christian theology.

    And Mayan tradition, as well as Aztec, was passed down orally as well as in written records. So the spaniards were not have gotten rid of that, would they? If there had been a great group of people living in that area, we would KNOW about it. Not, oh maybe, no, we'd KNOW. And I find it really convenient that none of their culture exists today. They just all killed each other out, did they? Even after the Aztecs conquered the Mayans, Mayans existed. Lets face it. These people didn't exist. There is no evidence that they did. There is plenty that they didn't.

    And as far as the 10 commandments go, you're right. Maybe they have been revised. Maybe originally there was "Okay, adulter, but make sure she's your wife first." That would be convenient for Fanny Alger huh? Oh right, D&C says its okay. Too bad Jacob (as in the Bible) says it isnt. And those pesky commandments. But its okay, maybe they were revised that way! Good grief.

  25. Anonymous – you have apparently been given incorrect information about what the Book of Mormon is – there are plenty of sources where you can get the straight scoop. It didn't come directly "from the Lord". Joseph Smith was shown by an angel where the plates were hidden and was given divine assistance to translate the ancient record. It doesn't purport to be anything but that.

    If the Lord wanted to, he could just appear to us all and say, "This is the straight scoop." But he doesn't. Ever wonder why not? Perhaps the answer to that question is also the answer to why the Bible and the Book of Mormon are translations of the writings of ancient prophets instead of the direct word of the Lord.

    The Book of Mormon doesn't say the Nephites were conquered. They were eliminated, as in genocide. They were hunted down and killed to the last surviving Nephite. Their culture, tradition, and race were intentionally destroyed. Not convenient if one is trying to prove the truth of the Book of Mormon by archeological evidence, but that isn't the point. The point is that there is nothing in the archeological record that is inconsistent with the Book of Mormon. People keep saying things like, "Where are the ruins? Why isn't there any evidence of some big civilization?" Well, it's right there in front of our noses. It's scattered all over Mexico and Guatemala.

    Don't go overboard on the 10 Commandments issue. The point was that we don't have the original document (stone tablets) so we can't prove they haven't been altered. They've been translated into English, haven't they? Isn't that an alteration? Take the word "idol" – does it mean precisely the same thing in English as it did in the original? Or is it a best approximation? How can you tell? I can show you an error in my current copy of the Book of Mormon – the wrong font was inadvertently used on one word. Does that make the book false? I think not. It's a typesetting error. These things happen. Don't get so caught up in the trivia.

  26. Bless Elder Holland for all that he said. If the modern apostles are called to be testators to Christ and to His gospel and to His Church, then this certainly was a show of the same. It was one of the most emphatic testimonies I have ever heard, whether from member or leader.
    I notice Elder Holland said Joseph and Hyrum's going to their graves while quoting from and testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon is one in the thousand of reasons he has for believing in this gospel. It is not wrong to gain strength from such witnesses. I think of what our Savior had to say about knowing the truth through the Holy Ghost. John 16:13 says the Holy Ghost will GUIDE you into all truth, and I like to think that includes guiding me to hear such things as what Elder Holland spoke of.
    Of course, there is also an abundance of things we run into that weaken our testimonies. I think of Elder Holland's reference to Lehi's Dream and of the mists of darkness and I think of the people in the tower laughing with scorn at the Saints. They laugh and scorn because they cannot understand how we would continue to believe in light of the evidence as they know it. And, I think of the iron rod, and how we must hold to it. Conference is part of that iron rod. When we hold to such things, and hear talks such as Elder Holland's, our faith is bolstered. The Holy Ghost can guide us into all truth, guiding us to the evidences (which I consider "treasures of knowledge") and to the burning feeling. How many reasons did Elder Holland say he has for believing? In sweeping terms, he said 1,000. Many of those nuggets of truth we are to find are waiting for us on the pages of the Book of Mormon, just as Ether 12:37-38 is for Elder Holland. The Book of Mormon can be the iron rod, and heaven knows, we all need such an iron rod.
    Elder Holland also spoke of the mists of darkness affecting everyone. I hope I am not misconstruing what he said, or adding a meaning that is not there, but I cannot imagine any honest soul not being affected by some of the things that try our testimonies. And, back to Ether 12, I think of Moroni, in verse 36, praying that the Gentiles might have charity. I do not know specifically where he would have them be charitable, but how about with each other as we walk through the mists of darkness?
    I testify that the modern-day truths are of God, that the treasures of hidden knowledge the Holy Ghost leads us to are of God, and I thank Elder Holland for pointing me to some of those nuggets.

  27. HI Pops,

    Okay, for starters, I never claimed to be a historical scholar, so if I forgot the Incans, which I did, so what. There still is no record among any of those peoples of a pseudo christian society living among them.

    As for steel, you're right, the Japanese have been making steel for thousands of years. Their culture, as well as the Chinese culture is over 4000 years old. Those guys have been around awhile. It also took the Japanese centuries to master the technique of working with steel. It is not an easy process. You have to know the type of steel you're working with, you need to know that high tensil steel holds an edge but is very brittle, and that low tensil steel is strong, but doesn't sharpen well. You need to learn how to fold the two together to form a nearly indestructible blade with an edge that rarely dulls. This is not something you learn over night; it takes centuries to master this process.

    The peoples you're talking about, could not have learned the process of working steel by hand, in the short time frame you're talking about. What's more, those other cultures, the Incans, Aztecs, and Mayans, the folks who were still in existence when the Spanish came, would have had some idea of the process of working steel. They did not as far as I remember my early American History lessons. It was the Spanish who introduced them to steel, usually in the process of converting them.

    I'll give you the fact that the BOM says the Nephites were wiped out, and their culture was wiped out. I'll give you that because if God wanted to erradicate a people, and remove all trace of them, he could do that. Sodom and Gamorrah come to mind. However, the BOM does not say that God eradicated these peoples right down the removal of all evidence of their culture. It says that the Nephites were hunted down and destroyed. God didn't smite them off the face of the earth; the enemies of the Nephites hunted them down.

    No matter how tenacious those enemies were, they could not have wiped all remnants of the Nephites out of existence. Their own human failings would have prevented that. And the other cultures that were here, would bear some trace of the Nephite civilization. The evidence you point to in Mexico, is evidence of the Mayans and the Aztecs, not the Nephites and Lamanites. The Spanish did everything they could to erradicate the memories of those cultures, but could not do it; how is it, short of divine intervention, the Lamanites were able to do it to the Nephites? I just do see how its possible without God doing so, and your own writings don't support that conclusion.

    Papa D… I apologize for the confusion. I misread something somewhere and mistook you for Pops. Didn't mean to.

    Sincerely

    Catholic Defender

  28. So, how many years does it take to learn how to make steel? What if they already knew how to make steel? Recall that Laban's sword, which they brought with them, was made of fine steel.

    The Aztecs and the Maya are the descendants of the Lamanites. Somehow I keep failing to make that point.

    One of the reasons the Spaniards weren't able to eradicate the Maya and the Aztec cultures is they forgot the part about killing all of them. Doh!

  29. Then who are the people before the Mayans and Aztecs the descendants of? Because the people in that region can be traced back long before 2500 years ago.

  30. Okay, take the Olmec civilization. They flourished in Mesoamerica from about 1400 BC to 400 BC. Then they disappeared. That correlates with the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon – also the part about how they were a race of very large people.

    A relevant quote from Wikipedia: "It is not known with any clarity what caused the eventual extinction of the Olmec culture. It is known that between 400 and 350 BCE, population in the eastern half of the Olmec heartland dropped precipitously, and the area would remain sparsely inhabited until the 19th century."
    According to the Book of Mormon, the Jaredites killed themselves in a war to the last man.

  31. Good Morning Pops,

    The problem I see with your theory that the Mayans and Aztecs being the Lamanites, is that those culture predate the Lamanites according to the timeline established in your BOM. As for erradicating those cultures, the Spanish did kill them pretty liberally, they just couldn't kill them all.

    Even if you assume that Laban's sword was made of fine steel, that doesn't mean that Nephi and his family brought the ability to make steel with them. If I remember the story correctly, the Lord tells Nephi to take Laban's sword from him while Laban is in a drunken stupor. This isn't a sword that Lehi and his family made, its one they in a sense stole from someone else. Its a huge leapt to say that after they took Laban's sword, they somehow broke down the materials the sword was made from and recreated the process of converting iron ore into steel.

    Assume the Olmec peoples do correlate with the same timeframe as the Jaredites. That does not mean they were the so called Jaredites. That's at best speculation. The Olmec people don't seem to have led any lifestyle which would tend to be a Judeo-Christian lifestyle.

    I really have no desire to keep firing volleys at each other here, but I do want to make a point. The very arguments you're using to support the BOM, are the very arguments that weigh against it. Elder Holland probably gave a great and inspiring talk; I didn't hear it this year, but often do hear conference with my wife. But giving a great talk does not make things true. There's some buzz around the web that Elder Holland didn't even have the actual book he claimed to have. I don't know if that's the case, but consider what it means if that's true. It means he was not being genuine in what he was saying, he was misleading folks. Doesn't that concern you that someone of that magnitude in your church might resort to disingenuous methods to draw in peoples emotional response? It would concern me, because I'd want to know why if this is true, someone has to go through such distortion to support the claim. Just a thought.

    Sincerely

    Catholic Defender