The Hunt for the Valley of Lemuel: S. Kent Brown Weighs In

Just got the latest issue of Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, published by the Maxwell Institute. This edition is not yet available online (hey, why not become a member and get it mailed to you?), but when it is, be sure to read S. Kent Brown’s article, “The Hunt for the Valley of Lemuel.” While our critics are busy claiming that there isn’t one scrap of evidence for the Book of Mormon, LDS thinkers are busy evaluating which of several good candidates are the most plausible for sites that uninformed critics have scoffed at as being too funny for words. A green, hospitable place called Bountiful on the eastern shores of Arabia?! Hah, every moron knows that the Arabian Peninsula is nothing but sand and desert – except, perhaps, for those modern and ancient morons who have explored Wadi Sayq or the Salalah region on the coast of Oman. And the mighty Valley of Lemuel with a “continually flowing” river of water that empties into the Red Sea? Every fool knows that there are no such rivers in Arabia! Except, perhaps, for those fools, ancient and modern, who exercised faith and traveled to Wadi Tayyib al-Ism about 75 miles south of Aqaba. Of the three candidates for the Valley of Lemuel, this is the one that S. Kent Brown finds to be powerfully compelling, though some questions remain unanswered.

Some questions remain unanswered about exciting developments in Book of Mormon evidence, but more troubling is the fact that most questions remain unasked. Questions like, “What does the Book of Mormon actually say, and is there anything that provides plausibility for its message?” Or more specific questions like, “If Joseph Smith made up the Book of Mormon, how could he have gained access to detailed information about the Arabian Peninsula given in First Nephi – information that has eluded some of the most intelligent and highly educated anti-Mormon authors for decades?”

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Author: Jeff Lindsay

0 thoughts on “The Hunt for the Valley of Lemuel: S. Kent Brown Weighs In

  1. I wouldn’t want to ask those questions or even try to answer if I were them. If they were answered in the true “anti” way I imagine there would be a lot of dipping and dodging.

  2. Ryan,

    Jeff here has referred to Nephi. I’ve only really read Alma, and like I said before that I was pretty amazed by its accurate prophecy of who the coming Messiah was going to be! And as I said before, that the person who wrote Alma even knew that this Messiah was going to be called Jesus?! How amazing is that?! Not even Isaiah got that close; he only managed to get Immanuel, which let’s face it is pretty generic.

    So, I guess my first question is: who wrote the book of Nephi?

  3. Most books in the book of Mormon (including 1 Nephi) are named after the person who wrote them, similar to book naming in the Old Testament.

    If your question was more biograpraphical, Nephi was the son of Lehi, a prophet and wealthy resident of Jerusalem ca. 600 BC (during the early reign of Zedekiah, contemporary to Jeremiah).

    Actually, all this comes from the first 2 chapters of 1 Nephi, if you want to read it for yourself (or if I didn’t answer your question)

  4. Why Lehi started out toward Yemen.

    Although Lehi was soon given an instrument to guide him by God and it eventually led to modern Oman rather than Yemen, The first moves Lehi made were toward Yemen. If he wanted to head West, he would have gone to Sidon or Tyre where he could get paid passage as far as Spain or Morocco. Instead, he headed south toward the Red Sea.

    Lehi may have known people and even had relatives that had left Jerusalem in 629 BC for Yemen. According to the folk history of Jews from Sanaa, their ancestors left Jerusalem when they heard the prophecies of Jeremiah. 29 year later Lehi took his family on a route leading to Yemen before the Lord directed them to make a sharp left, and cross the desert to what is now Oman.

    According to research by Shen et al in 2004, about 15% of Yemenite Jews belong to a rare branch of the Q lineage group called Q5 or Q-M323. Q is the primary lineage of Native Americans. To date, Q-M323 has only been found in Jews. Assuming future research bears this out, the existence of Q-M323 in Jews and only Jews testifies to the fact that the Q* lineage, ancestral to both M323 and M3, probably existed in ancient Israel.

  5. NM:

    Let me let you in on a little lesser-known tenet of BOM geography/textual analysis: we don’t always know as much as we think we know.

    In other words, do we necessarily know that the words “Jesus Christ” were verbatim written on the plates? Perhaps…indeed, I tend to believe on that side. However, it’s not the only faithful interpretation. We know very little about the translation process–given some of the phrasing of the BOM, we can’t help but suppose that his own linguistic tendencies/phrasings were very much a part of how he worded things in the way he did. Perhaps the words in the text was “Jehovah,” but Joseph, being a seer, would certainly have been more concerned with the essence of the translation and not with the word itself. Therefore, he translates according to the more substantive meaning and translates it as Jesus Christ.

    I mostly point this out to demonstrate that there is “wiggle room” in Mormon doctrine–once a few core tenets are established (the absolute conviction in the divine Sonship of Christ and his atoning sacrifice, Joseph Smith’s prophetic status, and the divine sanction of the Church), then other niches/niceties are up for grabs.

  6. NM,

    For those who are familiar with and understand the nature of prophecy and prophets, it isn’t so amazing in the sense that you seem to be amazed, i.e. strange or odd. Prophets are privy to lots of information, some of which may be off-limits from being divulged, particularly when taking the audience into consideration.

    But you seem to insinuate that Isaiah would somehow be an inferior prophet because he only managed to come up with a generic identification for the Savior. Well, I think it’s pretty amazing that Isaiah SAW Him and received some pretty awesome prophecies concerning Him. It can’t get much better than that!

  7. Russell,

    Yes, I understand your point. So, what you’re saying (or at least what I think you’re saying) is that there’s no verifiable way of finding out the words were ‘Jesus Christ’ or whatever?

    So, is there any way of finding out if Joseph Smith’s translations were accurate or whatever with the book of Alma/Nephi? Or are we having to depend solely upon the event when Joseph translated these books?

    Tatabug,

    Hello again you. I didn’t mean to put a value-judgement on Isaiah’s prophetic skill neither did I really mean to compare the two… I think…I was just highlighting how accurate the Book of Mormon was with regard to its prophetic content.

  8. NM:

    We have no independently verifiable set of gold plates–that’s true. But then again, there are no original Old Testament manuscripts available to us (and the Dead Sea Scrolls don’t count, they themselves were copies).

    That said, the text is not without signature marks of ancient linguistic origin. The literature is vast enough that to list it here would be redundant. Look at maxwellinstitute.org to get some idea of what’s available. Look at “Browse our research” and then click on the Book of Mormon. Let’s just say that Hebrew literary forms seem to peacefully coexist with Joseph Smith’s phrasing in the text.

    And the way we find out the BOM is true is the same way we learn that Jesus Christ is our Savior: the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Yes, objective measures can be fruitfully applied re: the Book of Mormon, but they do not close the deal. The experience will be a subjective experience–a subsidiary to our conversion to Jesus Christ, but the processes are nevertheless similar.

  9. I think NM is being courteous when it comes to the prophesies in the Book of Mormon. Given the near-pinpoint accuracy of the Book of Mormon, the possibility arises that the prophesies were fabrications, i.e. written after the fact, possibly by Joseph Smith himself.

    This is not MY opinion; I, personally believe, as the Book of Mormon itself states, that the descendants of Lehi were given a special dispensation of knowledge from on high, which was preserved in their records. While I believe that some Jews and all the prophets in Palestine shared this special dispensation, none of it has been preserved in the OT in its current form.

    Nevertheless, I think it is inappropriate to blithely say, “Well then, what are you waiting for? Join us and enjoy much more prophetic accuracy!” as if to say, “Our prophets are better than your prophets!”

    Come one, guys, NM’s observation is understandable. The Book of Mormon effectively presents a view of essentially pre-Christian Christians, which, to someone heretofore unfamiliar with the concept, is understandably surprising.

  10. Jon,

    I’m sorry you felt that my comment was inappropriate. I was just playing a bit and didn’t intend to say that that our prophets are better than any other prophets, but to merely say that if he was genuinely impressed with the prophetic accuracy of the Book of Mormon that there was so much more that was in store for him to discover. But I am hesitant to truly believe that he is impressed with the prophetic accuracy of the Book of Mormon so much as he is doubtful of its truthfulness. I believe that his views lie somewhere among the views expressed in your first paragraph, and so his “courtesy” is a bit patronizing in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his kindness and his tolerance, but I am not going to be deluded into thinking all of his statements with regards to his views of Mormon belief are sincere, which is why I thought it would be nicer to jokingly, but ever so “lovingly,” invite him to join us and enjoy the blessings, than to make accusations, but it seems that I have done just that in my response to you.

    NM,

    Please forgive me if I’ve offended you. That wasn’t my intent.

  11. Tatabug,

    No offence taken. Although, I do need to say (with clenched teeth) that I think you have me worked out. 😉

    Saying that though, I am sincere when I say that I don’t know anything about the Book of Mormon. And I know that you know that I take a skeptical view of it =) My only solace with how it is that I feel so skeptical when it comes to the Book of Mormon is that skepticism is my default mode for anything that I investigate. Would you say that was fair, perhaps?

    I don’t know about what you guys do in your church, but at my church here in Derby, we hold what’s called, ‘Christianity Explored’ courses. The course runs for approximately 7 weeks and is intended for people who we might already know, maybe for who we might be at work with etc. to invite to and investigate, firstly: the claims of Jesus Christ, secondly the evidence for the trustworthiness of the Bible (i.e. from historical, archaeological, perspectives etc.), and thirdly, the idea that if Jesus’ claims are true (by looking at the effect it had on His apostles and so on and so forth) how we might come to respond to His death, resurrection etc. and what it might mean to how we live the rest of our lives…

    The one thing I really appreciate from being involved by helping to run such courses is that I have come to really appreciate people’s honesty in their questions. I think you’ll agree that we now live in a society that is almost void of the knowledge of God(!?) What once was a country whose traditions were embroiled in Scriptural living, is now erring toward post-modern anything-goes-kind-of-living. In many ways, it’s actually easier now to present Biblical truths – the fact that there exists transcendent truth (the idea that there are absolute truths etc.) because to declare that truth does exist goes completely contrary to the mainstream and popular belief that there are no truths, just subjective ones.

    I have digressed.

    Yes, I guess the way that I might want to explore the Book of Mormon might be similar to the way that I expect the people that I run the courses for when introducing them to the Bible. Do you know what I mean? I don’t mind (at all) when these guys ask the most basic of questions – because sometimes, the most basic of questions are the ones that really matter. =) And I find now, that the questions being asked aren’t so enmeshed with religious-ness. Do you know what I mean by this? I don’t know if any of you guys have ever read a book entitled, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobell? I really, really like that book, because it asks the most basic of questions – questions that demand a rational, reasoned and evidence-based answer – and not mere textbook answers – what you might expect from a geeky-Christian. Do you see? And if one comes to find out that the Bible is dependable, that it is trust-worthy; you know that these things can be verified through archaeology, secondary historical texts etc. then it’s easy to accept that Jesus REALLY DID EXIST! And that if HE REALLY DID EXIST – and if He really did die and ressurect, what about the outrageous claims He made about Himself?! How do we respond to what He claimed?!

    I think you guys get the point…

    So, anyway. Tatabug: you have me all worked out! And Jon, you need to read me way better 😉

    But please know that I ask questions with the utmost respect. I never want to offend; and if I do – I will always acknowledge it and will apologise and hopefully learn not to be so crass.

    With that note, I bid you all goodnight. It’s midnight here in England. Ready for more top discussions over the weekend!

  12. I was going to ask if anyone has read “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, but NM beat me to it. It was one of the things that turned me to Christ.

    Historical evidence (or lack thereof) is one of the huge issues I have with Mormonism (do you guys mind if I use that term? I’m sorry if it’s offensive…let me know, okay?). I know, I know, that’s what Jeff’s site is all about, and that’s probably one of the reasons I find it so interesting. Can’t people just find evidence for whatever they want, though? Mormons can find evidence for BM authenticity, but orthodoxes come up with reams of support for their positions, too…So who’s right? And how do we know? One of the joys (and curses) of the Internet is just how much information is available for both sides of this. And they are both biased, saying they’re right…

  13. NM,

    I am surprised you turn to the world to prove the Bible. It sounds like you believe that the Bible is true but you don’t know for certain. I was that way at the beginning of last year. I believed that the Bible was true but I didn’t know for sure. I was at a turning point in my life where I needed to know if it was true or not. I remember getting on my knees and asking to know if it is true. I was never a kneeling prayer sort of guy. As I read through the New Testament I remember having that desire to know if it is true. At some point through 1st Peter, if I remember correctly, I got my answer. I remember it was a sudden indescribable realisation that it was true. The Lord had told me the answer. So, I can honestly say that I know it’s true. I don’t just believe/ think it’s true. At that time the Lord taught me many other things about his Church. I almost started a church because I didn’t know know of one that did everything the Lord asked. I asked him to bring it to me. 7 Months later I was being taught by two young missionaries who, to this day, are the only ones who came to me to talk to me about the Lord’s church. Everything they taught me falls in line with everything I understood from the New Testament. So I can say that with only a witness of the Bible I was able to recognise the true Church. It was a bit odd that there was other scripture, it was a bit odd hearing everyone talk about some guy called Alma, who I knew nothing about. I couldn’t deny the teachings or the organisation of the church. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t the prophet I thought I was though 😉

  14. technically I was a south-west baptist, I wasn’t baptised though. Just the Church my Mum felt most comfortable going to. I learned a lot there though, quite cool

  15. To be honest Kathleen I don’t understand how people can claim to be a prophet of God and start a church. It’s just that how do they prove it? If they had only a Bible saying I have been chosen to lead you to God they are echoing hundreds of other churches. Throughout time there has been new scripture and revelation from the Prophets to provide proof. There have been prophecies and, generally, persecutions.
    You know, as I was thinking about starting a church I had one thing that echoed in my mind, there has to be one. I even had a name for the church I was going to start – the Resurrected Church of Christ. Because it can’t be a reformed church because it’d still be wrong, it would have to be the exact church that Christ established – hence the resurrected in the title.

    Just to let you know how serious I was…

  16. So who’s right? And how do we know? One of the joys (and curses) of the Internet is just how much information is available for both sides of this. And they are both biased, saying they’re right…

    I remember having a pretty big “Aha” moment in a class that brushed up against Epistemology (the study of the value of information, and how to integrate conflicting and unreliable sources). Not that I’m an expert by any stretch, but just being aware of the concept opened my eyes a bit – not all information is created equal!

    Seriously, though, the best way I know to evaluate religious ideas is in three steps:
    1. Study and absorb the idea
    2. Mull for a long time (anywhere form days to months to years)
    3. Wait for God to place tidbits in my path to confirm (or shoot down). It’s amazing how I can get some wrong idea in my head, only to have a long a string of “coincidences” make it really obvious what’s wrong about it.

    The more important the topic, the quicker and thicker the tidbits come, especially if I’ve also been praying about it.

  17. You Go Peter. Thanks for your testimony. I like you had a spiritual experience with God, Jesus Christ, then the Joseph Smith story. Once I felt the spirit I knew before this I did little or know studing and knew very little about the Bible. Studing just brings the spirit more and more but I could have studied all my life and would have never known if it was true unless the Holy Spirit told me it was true.

  18. Sorry about the spelling and grammar. I am not very skilled and only have a short time to post. At least I have something in common with Joseph Smith.

  19. So who’s right? And how do we know?
    My formula is to ask God in prayer by making a covenant that you will do all that is in your power to follow His teaching. You most likely have enough information now. You must pray in the name of Jesus Christ with real intent to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Heavenly Father and Son Jesus Christ appear to him and command Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon and establish His Church in these last days? When Our Heavenly Father confirms this to you by the power of the Holy Ghost then follow up with the missionaries and start on your path back to Him.
    When I desired to know with real intent and decided to pray, I recalled a story where Plato wanted to be taught by Socrates so he could learn all that his master knew. In order to determine if Plato was serious Socrates ask Plato to wade out into the waves of the ocean where Socrates ask him how deeply did he desire to know this important knowledge? Then Socrates pushed Plato’s head under the water until he felt he was going to drown. When Socrates let Plato up for air he ask him if he wanted this knowledge as much as he wanted that first breath of air.
    I don’t know if this story is true but if you truly desire to know Our Heavenly Father is waiting. Knock and it shall be opened to you. Seek and you shall fine the truth. Ask and He will reveal it unto you.

  20. Hi Peter,

    First of all, thank you for sharing your amazing experience =) I can imagine, just like the apostle Paul’s reaction to his experience on the road to Damascus(?was it?), that it stopped you in your track of day-to-day living! …to say the least!

    It’s good to have these kind of experiences, it wakes us up to the fact that the spiritual dimension is very much a present reality. It’s arguably contested by our psuedo-scientific friends of course, and that such ‘religious’ experiences are due to frontal lobe malfunctions etc. but the truth (and I should know as I work in mental health) is that such people who write psychiatric propositions in the DSM IV textbooks is that it isn’t actually based upon biological evidence….at all!?!

    In fact, there’s a clever ‘anti-psychiatry’ video on youtube which challenges how psychiatric disorders are created….after watching the video, one does wonder if such disorders are actually MADE UP?! It was, however, created by The Church of Scientology. But even so, their research into the area of psychiatry and its exposure of it show some striking results.

    Anyway, I have again, digressed.

    You said, “I am surprised you turn to the world to prove the Bible. It sounds like you believe that the Bible is true but you don’t know for certain.”

    To be honest with you, I have gone through so much agony with whether Christianity is true/not true. I guess this is the curse of having been brought up a Christian. I grew up (as kids do) swallowing things before chewing them. I believed because my parents said so. You know the score. And it wasn’t until I came to university that I was exposed to existential/nihilist/humanist-type philsophies that things came to a head. Plus of course, the token evolutionary theories, which have remained popular for the past 100 or so years.

    The main challenge came from existential philosophy, particularly from Sartre, Camus and Neitzche who proposed the idea that ‘truth’ is ultimately subjective. Nihilism states there is no truth. Existentialism at least makes things a little better by stating that even though there is no objective truth, we can all make our own truth. This idea of subjectivism, I believe, is the society that we live and breath today. It was made more challenging because, as a student I was exposed to many, MANY great thinkers…and people who I really admired. Do you know what I mean? I had friends who were Buddhists, and actively engaged in charity work; humanists who were actively on the streets working with the homeless etc. And how did these people come to do such things? Because they too, experienced something in their lives that made them stop and think.

    Then I thought, “Well, I know that at the age of 8 (or whatever) I made a commitment to Jesus and after that I knew my life changed and strived to be a better Christian, but how is my experience of Jesus any better than these guys who are also doing some great things?”

    So…coupled with whether or not ‘truth’ exists and also having friends who were of other faiths regularly exercising their faiths. It was then that I decided that ‘faith’ had to be more than mere experience and feeling…

    Because if my faith in Christ, rested alone on an experience that I had…then effectively, Christianity is no better than the Buddhist, who let’s face it, did a much better job of getting on with life than I did =)

    Do you see the kind of dilemma I was faced with?

    When I say I was depressed, I mean I hit rock bottom. Can you imagine? A system that I had based the best part of 20 years on? Rocked? The walls began to crumble and I guess all that I could do was to start again =)

    …so I did.

    I took the default skeptical view of everything. I never ingested, let alone digested anything, until I first chewed it. If it stood up to scrutiny, I took it, if it did not, I spat it out.

    So, I think I remember starting out by looking at evidences for who Jesus is: whether or not he existed etc. Let’s face it, when Paul was preaching, he had the luxury of being a contemporary of Jesus. He was there! He wasn’t preaching something that asked people to believe whether or not he resurrected, because people around KNEW that this strange phenomenon happened!

    After that, I looked at Christianity as a system. And for the first time, I saw a system that directly challenged post-modern thought. It was based upon absolute truths. That x, y and z do have values, whatever opinion people might have upon it. The judicial system is what really brought this home. With questions like, “Why do we have laws?”, “Why has somebody decided that rape is wrong?” etc…

    Do you see where I’m going with this? The fact that there are absolutes, is enough to push me to wonder how these transcendent truths came about!? There can only be one other source, other than merely saying that such rules are innate: that there must be a law-giver?!

    God IS this law-giver! It’s exactly what Paul was writing about in the first two chapters of Romans! The whole universe cries out, “Intelligence!!!”

    So, if there is intelligence, who is it? etc.

    Of course, this epiphany didn’t make me leap straight to the Bible. It just revealed that ‘truth’ does exist….

    …which then led me to investigate the different systems of thought that were pro-‘absolute truth’. Systems that promoted post-modernity is wish-wash. So, it was then that I could avoid things like existentialism…it might also be worth noting that I couldn’t even go to evolutionary theory, because I don’t know if you realise this but ‘science’ in itself is constrained by ‘naturalism’ and ‘materialism’. So for ‘science’ to explain things that cannot be measured, i.e. spirituality, can no longer science =) It’s not that I am anti-science. I just don’t trust the scientist who go about thinking that what they’re doing is science =)

    Well, I could go on and on….but Peter… I think you get my point.

    The message of the gospel of Christ remains the same. It has never, ever changed. The message of the Bible that God exists, whether we like it or not, has also always remained the same. Sadly, societies do. Philisophical thoughts rise and fall and in most cases – people (like fish do not realise that they are in water, because it’s all they’ve ever been exposed to), do not realise that they live and breathe the fad philosophical thought.

    Like I’ve said: the message of the gospel has never changed. The area of the defense of the Christian faith is called apologetics. In of itself, it is useless, but it leads the way to the good news =)

  21. NM,

    My change wasn’t as instantaneous as Paul’s. I am still changing, slowly but surely. I am going to serve a mission next year (hopefully) so that when someone prays to the Lord asking for guidance or his church, I can repay the favor.

    I do sometimes have trouble understanding you. It may be that I am not on the same wave length. What I understood from your post is that you don’t trust yourself, so you want to have as much proof as possible. I understand this. There are more experiences that I have had that have left me wondering if I am insane. I am by no means a perfect person. That doubt that you have, because it really seems you do doubt, is planted by the devil. The other thing that I got, probably more frightening, is that you don’t believe the Lord will answer.

    Maybe you need worldly proof? That’s not my call, if you had an experience similar to Paul’s or mine, would it change your life?

    Do you want your own experience? If so it’s really easy. Exercise that faith of yours and get on your knees, ask to know the truth and read the Book of Mormon, if not that then the New Testament. Some belief in Jesus is better then none. Though not everyone’s experience is going to be as hard hitting or blatantly obvious as mine or Paul’s. Some people know the truth because of a simple warm feeling, others get it in dreams or visions. The Lord will tell you in whatever way you need, you just need to be on the look out.

    If you have not yet received a spiritual witness, let us know and we will also pray with you to get an answer.

  22. OK. I reread and got something along the lines of you were confused, you re-read the Bible? again and analyzed everything. You have now formed your own opinions and stick to them. Confirming information in the Bible with information in the world you have found evidence that Jesus exists.

    You research to be able to show the world that Jesus exists.

    Then you have a problem. You have no evidence that he was resurrected. Good thing the Book of Mormon has the ministry of Jesus after he was resurrected. Also you have no proof that his church exists today. Good thing we have the Doctrine and Covenants otherwise the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would be in the same pickle 😐

  23. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for what you have written. And I appreciate your concern. I like the way that you show your concern – it is something to be admired. =)

    Errm, I shared my experience of Christianity to show that mere experience of an event is not enough to know that it is truth. I doubt you agree, but I’ll carry on with the thread…

    For example, let’s take Mohammed (the most prominent prophet in Islam): it seems that he too had visions, which lasted for a few years! I think the story goes that he was in a cave and within this spate of time, he was visited by a messenger angel telling Mohammed that he was to be the last prophet of God. It also seems that Mohammed experienced some AMAZING things like riding to the heavens on a winged horse etc. And throughout this amazing experience, he was told of the final thing about the character of God, the giving of the Jihad etc.

    Now, from our perspective, and from reading the Qu’ran (not that I’ve read all of it – only part of it) that the Qu’ran is the truth of who God is. Would you believe this? I doubt it, because first of all, it denounces the validity of Jesus who lived 600 years prior to Mohammed, claiming that Jesus was NOT the Son of God and that he was a mere prophet etc. How can this be a progression of God’s revelation?

    How can Islam be true when it does not correlate with what has already been revealed in the Bible (and not just the Bible, but in Jesus!) which was also God’s revealed Word?

    My point is this: (and please know that I do not mean to cause offence) that mere experience is not enough to establish whether something is TRUE. Faith in Jesus, believe it or not, must be founded on substantiated facts. The existence of Jesus is a FACT. He really did exist and His death, ressurection and the effect which this had upon those around Him can be verified through people like Josephus etc.

    Do you see my point?

    (BTW) I’ve just read the second part of your reply – which makes everything that I have said – void! =D I’ll carry on anyway…

    “You have no evidence that he was resurrected”? I think books written by Lee Strobel would be good for you to read. =)

    “Good thing the Book of Mormon has the ministry of Jesus after he was resurrected. Also you have no proof that his church exists today.”

    I’m really sorry, but I just don’t understand statements like this. God, if He is Sovereign, will always keep to Himself a remnant =) Do you remember when Elijah said to God, “Look God, I am the only one left and your enemies are trying to kill even me!”. What did God say in reply, “Don’t worry, I’ve kept 7000 people for myself who haven’t bowed down to Baal”…

    I can only imagine Elijah’s reply, “Oh right. =/”

    I don’t think that we should presume that the church (whatever this might mean for the LDS) ceased to exist, because God – in His Sovereignty, will always keep to Himself a remnant. Who are these remnant? Answer: those who are part of his ‘unseen’ church…

    It seems there are many people who profess to be Christians, who when they die and see Him will say, “But Lord, I have done this, that n’ the other AND I did them in Your name”, but He’ll turn away and simply say, “I NEVER knew you…”

    Eep!

    Anyway….back to the subject of the BoM!!!

    Are there any books, which Joseph translated that were not written on these golden plates? If so, can they be verified?

  24. NM,

    I have no problem with your skepticism. In fact, I think a skeptical approach to new information is generally a good thing.

    But I am suprised at your evidentiary approach to verifying the authenticity of the Bible. That seems to me to be the basis of a very shaky foundation and an approach which subordinates faith and reliance on the Holy Ghost, which are both very Biblical principles of determining truth.

    Without going into details, there are definite problems with the Bible involiving evidence and anachronisms. But even if all of those issues were resolved, there are many things that cannot be proven through evidence. All the physical evidence and historical and scientific accuracy in the world does not verify a true prophet of God or the Son of God. Jesus may have existed, but how can archaeology or historical records verify the truth of His claims or the reality of His resurrection?

    But anyway, we don’t have anything similar to your ‘Christianity Explored’ course. I went to a fireside once where physical evidence for the Book of Mormon was discussed, but such a thing is rare, and such a technique is not used (or at least not prescribed) when it comes to teaching investigators. The most powerful witness, after all, is the Holy Ghost. Evidence is fun and can add a bit to one’s faith, but it isn’t the basis of faith or an adequate substitute for the witness of the Holy Ghost.

  25. Hi Tatabug,

    I think this is why I said that mere apologetics is never good enough. Although I did say that Christian apologetics (a defense of Christianity) is a good way of breaking barriers, but in of itself is actually quite useless =)

    I don’t know if you’d be interested in this: ‘Be Thinking.org’ it is a site owned by UCCF (whose American equivalent is Inter-Varsity-Press IVP). It is an organisation which support the Christian Union Movement in all universities and colleges in Britain. The movement was started a few hundred years ago by Cambridge University and has carried on since. UCCF is, might I add, a strong advocate for reformed theology =)