Our Semitic Book of Mormon: Hebraic Word Pairs (and Question on Mosiah 7:11)

Kevin Barney’s impressive article, “Poetic Diction and Parallel Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon” published by the Maxwell Institute is a must-read for those interested in the issue of vestiges of Hebraic language structures (Hebraisms) in the Book of Mormon. Barney treats just one of many related topics, but this issue of word pairs is well researched, well documented, and a meaningful advance in our understanding of the Book of Mormon and its Semitic roots. He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense. Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs from Hebrew literature that are used appropriately, even skillfully, in the Book of Mormon. Given that scholars did not recognize the concept of Hebraic word pairs until decades after Joseph Smith’s day, I hope you’ll at least be impressed that they have been implemented so well in the Book of Mormon text.

Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs that occur in Hebrew poetry and in Book of Mormon passages. Many, of course, are logically related and not surprising of themselves to be used together, though some are far from intuitive or obvious. More important, I would suggest, is how they have been used. Is it random and clumsy, as we might find, say, in any attempted forgery written in King James lingo (why not go ahead and have your favorite Bible student try this for a few pages and see what happens?) or skillful and deliberate? Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

Index of Word Pairs

1. anger//fierce anger

2. blessed//cursed

3. blood//burnt offerings

4. city//land

5. day//night

6. dead//dust

7. deliver//destroy

8. earth//darkness

9. earth//mountains

10. eyes//heart

11. favor//blessing

12. God//man

13. good//evil

14. hearken//give ear

15. hearken//hear

16. heart//soul

17. hear//understand

18. heavens//earth

19. highway//road

20. Jacob//Israel

21. knees//earth

22. lead//destroy

23. light//darkness

24. Lord//God

25. mountain//valley

26. nations//earth

27. old men//young men

28. people//Israel

29. place//land

30. pride//wisdom

31. righteous//wicked

32. sea//earth

33. seen//heard

34. sin//righteousness

35. tell//declare

36. thousands//ten thousands

37. tree//waters

38. visions//dreams

39. walk//observe

40. way//law

Special request for your Hebrew experts:In a recent comment on this blog, Annie J. made an interesting observation. I’d like further input on this verse and causative structures in Hebrew:

There’s another possible Hebraism that I discovered while reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese. It was in Mosiah 7, verse 11 – the English wording is “I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death.” I noticed this because the wording is very elegant in Japanese; they have a causative – a verb conjugation that means “to cause someone to V.” As I read it in Japanese and noticed how appropriate and native-like it sounded, I flipped back to the English, where I found the much more cumbersome “should have caused that …” A native English speaker, in that situation, would have said “I should have commanded my guards to put you to death,” or inserted a similar verb. We’re not accustomed to having a causal form of a verb.

When I returned from my mission, I asked a good friend of mine who is an Orthodox Jew and speaks Hebrew very well if Hebrew had a causative mood. She told me that it does, and that it is used often.

Now, the part I don’t know is whether this knowledge would have been available to Joseph Smith or how often it occurs in the KJV. But I did think it a rather interesting little tidbit to stumble across on my own.

Yes, I think that’s interesting. I don’t recall seeing this verse treated in previous articles on Hebraisms. It has the feel of something that has been translated and unnatural for an English speaker to have written or spoken. Is this something that could be a plausible and perhaps relatively direct translation of good Hebrew?

Update: Looks like the Book of Mormon’s frequent use of the verb “cause” in ways that are not needed and often awkward in English does fit a common Hebrew construction, as was already noted in this 1914 article about Book of Mormon Hebraisms by T. Brookbank, courtesy of Kerry Shirts: http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/brookban.htm.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

70 thoughts on “Our Semitic Book of Mormon: Hebraic Word Pairs (and Question on Mosiah 7:11)

  1. He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense.

    So, last night the power went out at my house. I offer three hypotheses to explain why: 1. Lack of maintenance caused the aging transformer down the block to fail. 2. The manager of the local power company has it in for me. 3. The aliens are probing our infrastructure vulnerabilities in preparation for an all-out attack on Planet Earth.

    1. might seem plausible at first, but in fact is unlikely. Think about it. The power company is a for-profit enterprise with a vested interest in maintaining its own equipment and delivering reliable power to its customer base. No company that regularly disappoints its customers can hope to remain in business. So 1. is out.

    2. is even less likely than 1.

    Ah, but if we accept the truth of 3., then it all starts to make sense.

    — Eveningsun

  2. The problem I see with claims of Hebrew forms in the Book of Mormon is that so much of it is copied from the Bible. Which, of course, reflect a Hebrew origin.

    So, such an analysis would need to exclude the biblical portions. Most don't.

    Does this one?

  3. Not only is much of the Book of Mormon lifted out of the Bible, but Joseph Smith, like many Americans of his time, was intimately familiar with the Bible's imagery, its vocabulary, its characteristic rhythms, etc.

    The idea that this familiarity accounts for the BoM's Hebraisms is raised as one of the article's three hypotheses. It's clearly the most straightforward and likely explanation, but the author is already committed to the orthodox LDS position on the book's origins and thus gives it short shrift.

    — Eveningsun

  4. I've recently thought that the focus of scholarship, criticism, apologetics upon the authenticity of the BOM as an ancient text can cause one to fail "to see the forest for the trees." Twenty years ago, I joined the LDS church based upon my study of the Bible and New Testament alone, having been raised Baptist and Methodist in Texas. Up until three or four months ago, I couldn't even look at the BOM or think of Joseph Smith without some antagonism. However, there is enough doctrine, IMHO, contained in the Bible to support the core and unique doctrines of the LDS church that separates it from mainstream, post Nicene Christianity. But the BOM, Bible, and Pear of Great Price are meant to be held together, testifying of the divinity of Christ, the restoration of His church, and also testifying of the other volumes of scripture.

    For most of my adult life, I've made the mistake of relying on one witness when, according to LDS, two witnesses are available. Actually if one includes the books of Abraham and Moses, there are four witnesses to Christ and the restoration of the gospel. The Bible is of God and remains my primary scriptural source to this day, although I have recently and finally accepted the BOM and POGP as scripture as well. I believe that if one hears the Lord's voice, "If you love me, keep my commandments," and will simply "go and do", the truth will unfold itself before you by His power.

  5. Unknown, I'm not sure, but I think your's was a fairly rare approach to conversion. From an LDS point of view, biblical truths and doctrines seem fairly obvious and clear. That you found the Church without the LDS perspective (at least without knowing it was the LDS perspective) is something I find very interesting, especially considering your religious background. I appreciate your sharing that!

  6. evening sun,

    It's easy to play the odds. It's easy to follow occam's razor. That's what they did back in the day — when they believed in a geocentric solar system. But now that we have a little more insight into the cosmos occam's razor cuts in a different direction.

    Will you be like so many who will go with whatever direction occam's razor happens to be cutting at present? It's time to give in bro; time to stop resisting and accept the most powerful witness of Christ on earth: The Book of Mormon.

    Jack

  7. But now that we have a little more insight into the cosmos…

    Did I miss something? Has some astronomer detected Kolob?

    Seriously, bro, the Books of Mormon/Abraham/Moses are obviously products of the 19th century. Time to get with the program.

    Don't worry, though, you can still be a good Mormon if you do take off the blinders and see the LDS scriptures for what they are. If the Church can survive changing its stance on plural marriage, its insistence on Native Americans collectively as Lamanites, the curse on Cain "preserved in the land" via Ham, blacks in the priesthood, the Catholic Church as the Church of the Devil, etc., etc., etc., then surely it can change its mind on the ancient origins of its scriptures. Think of all the time and effort that could be saved on apologetics alone!

    — Eveningsun

  8. Not good enough, Evening sun. Everyone of those examples falls flat — and I think you know that.

    So, while the Bible is on its way to being summarily dismissed as folklore by the academy; and while more and more good Christians are falling prey to atheistic explanations of theism only LDS scripture — particularly the Book of Mormon — stand as firm witnesses of the reality and divinity of Christ as preached in the Bible.

    The BoM is fast becoming the last bastion — the last rallying post for those who hold to a firmly grounded christology. One in which Jesus truly is the Son of God. One who literally resurrected from the dead and is now a divine corporal being.

    Jack

  9. So, while the Bible is on its way to being summarily dismissed as folklore by the academy…

    What? Folklore? I teach the Bible at the college level, and I can assure you that my colleagues and I consider it to be profound and brilliantly written literature. FWIW, its literary greatness has nothing to do with whether it is literally "true," no more than the greatness of Huckleberry Finn depends on the actual existence of a boy named Huck.

    Remember, fiction is a way of conveying profound truths. To deny the Bible's historicity is in no way to "dismiss" it.

    — Eveningsun

  10. Eveningsun,

    (I think I finally spelled your handle right) I don't question the greatness of the Bible as literature — I love, love, love it! But certain aspects of its history must be rooted in reality otherwise the entire fabric of Christianity comes apart. If Jesus is not who he said he was then the "good news" is entirely without foundation.

    But the Book of Mormon stands firm and resolute as a witness that we may indeed find hope through the gospel of Christ. And because of that witness we may be assured that the Bible is a divine testament of the reality of the Living Christ.

    Jack

  11. Certain aspects of [the Bible's] history must be rooted in reality otherwise the entire fabric of Christianity comes apart.

    Quite so. That's one reason I'm not a Christian. (There are many other reasons, of course.)

    But the Book of Mormon stands firm and resolute as a witness that we may indeed find hope through the gospel of Christ.

    At least in part, your argument seems to be that because academia has undermined belief in the literal truth and historicity of the Bible, it is only the Book of Mormon that can ground the Christian's hope in the Gospel. That makes no sense, because academia has been much, much harder on the Book of Mormon than on the Bible. There is no secular college or university that considers the Book of Mormon to be either divine scripture or great literature.

    The Bible has not been "dismissed" in academia, but the Book of Mormon has.* Yet you clearly find inspiration in both, so what can the arguments of academics possibly have to do with things? How does the Bible's treatment in academia leave the Book of Mormon standing as some kind of "last bastion"?

    All secular academics know that the Bible's references to Jerusalem, the Egyptians, and the Canaanites are references to real things. We don't feel the same about Zarahemla, the Nephites, and the Lamanites. In secular academia, Jesus was a real person but Nephi has the same status as Paul Bunyan.

    Here's the academic understanding: The Bible is great literature, written by real ancient writers about real ancient peoples and places. The Book of Mormon is not-so-great literature, written by a 19th-century writer about imagined ancient peoples and places.

    How this state of affairs supports the idea of the Book of Mormon as a "last bastion" is beyond me. Your argument makes no sense. I suspect it's all just an excuse for crowing, "My religion is best!" Well, OK, so you're a fan of your faith. Nothing wrong with that. It's just that I'm a fan of something else: good arguments.

    — Eveningsun

    * Actually, there are a very few secular American literature profs who teach the Mormon scriptures as 19th-century American lit. I'm one of them, and I'd like to see more. But right now there are very few.

  12. I do not build my values solely on what academia has to say about truth. When I bring academia's truth claims into this argument it is only in reference to how I feel about its influence on those who profess to follow Christ. And so when I proscribe the BoM as a witness of the Bible's truth claims about Jesus it is meant to strengthen believers in the face of evidence that would be used to prove that Jesus is not who the Bible says he is.

    Re: Academia's rejection of the Book of Mormon–

    Who are the experts? (Not that it really matters as coming to terms with the BoM is really more a matter of faith than research)

    Jack

  13. Re: Academia's rejection of the Book of Mormon–Who are the experts?

    Actually, I'd say I know a lot more about the Book of Mormon than a lot of Mormons. And anyway, if you're arguing that one should leave judgments about scripture up to the believer, on the notion that the believers are the experts, well, you don't really believe that yourself.

    After all, there are plenty of imams out there who are far more expert than either of us about the Koran. But does that mean you and I should be swayed by an imam's views about the Koran as God's word? Of course not. In fact, you and I both would discount the imam's expertise because of his bias. For me, the same applies to the Mormon's expertise (such as it might be) about the Book of Mormon.

    As you yourself admitted, you believe not because of evidence or expertise, but because of faith. But I, lacking faith, need evidence, and have yet to see any.

    But if you need more, I offer B.H. Roberts, who was both a Mormon and an expert and who all but admitted that the Book of Mormon was not an ancient text but rather a product of Joseph Smith's 19th-century milieu.

    — Eveningsun

  14. No I really meant it. Who are the experts? It's a rhetorical question when applied to academia. In as much as no one in the secular world has really taken the BoM seriously there has been no serious study on it — except by Mormon scholars (who are given short-shrift in many instances because they're Mormon)

    The likes of FARMS and FAIR and blogs like this are where you're going to find the experts. But even they will tell you that accepting the Book of Mormon is based in faith.

    Jack

  15. Even [the experts at FAIR and FARMS] will tell you that accepting the Book of Mormon is based in faith.

    Of course they will, for the simple reason that they've come up with no other reasons to accept the book.

    Of course, there are at east some Book of Mormon experts, even within the Church, who understand the book's 19th-century origins. There have been at least since the days of B.H. Roberts' studies.

    If the people I've spoken with are any indication, at least one of the ways that belief is bolstered — faith's right-hand man, if you will — is simple ignorance. The missionaries and Mormon colleagues I've talked with always seem to be surprised to learn of the extent to which Joseph Smith's time and place were saturated with speculation about the origins of the northeastern Indian mounds, and about pre-Columbian Native American history. It usually turns out they've never heard of the Expositor. Sometimes they seem not to know that polygamy was contested in the early Church, or even know of polygamy at all, as if all references to Mormon polygamy were references only to the fundamentalist church or simply anti-Mormon propaganda. And they seem never to have thought about the possibility that Brigham Young was a traitor for sending soldiers out against federal troops in the Utah War, or that he was guilty of obstruction of justice for failing to adequately investigate Mountain Meadows. It really is quite stunning.

    Anyway, there's not much of a critical spirit in the Church, and the resulting ignorance of course helps "faith" do its work. I will admit that something similar is at work in my own religion. There are some Jews who understand that maybe instead of honoring the Maccabees with the holiday of Chanuka we should think of them as the violent religious fundamentalists of their day, but this is not exactly an idea encouraged by the faiful, who prefer that we live with our illusions about our own past.

    — Eveningsun

  16. Eveningsun, forgive me, but you mentioned 'your own religion.' Would you consider yourself a 'believer' of its tenets?

  17. I'm a Jew, but I don't believe that the Jews are God's chosen people, that God gave Canaan to the Jews, or that the Torah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. I don't believe in God at all.

    But I'm a Jew in the sense that I was born a Jew, and have certain Jewish habits and dispositions, and appreciate the brilliance of the Jewish scriptures and intellectual tradition, and understand Woody Allen movies.

    — Eveningsun

  18. Eveningsun, you wrote above that But I, lacking faith, need evidence, and have yet to see any.

    And

    I don't believe in God at all.

    Have you ever considered what kind of evidence you would need to be convinced of any of these things?

  19. OK, what kinds of evidence would we be talking about? For example, if you had seen Christ walking on the water, or been present at the time He raised someone from the dead, or had been one of those who collected the overabundance of bread and fish after the crowd was miraculously fed, would any of those things have swayed you?

  20. Without a doubt, those things would impress me deeply were I to see them.

    I think those would impress anyone. Though converting people is an entirely different matter. Seeking signs is a very poor way to convert. I guess it can work but highly unlikely.

  21. Darren, it was not my intent to set anyone up for an attack, least of all Eveningsun. I am just curious what kind of evidence it might take for a non-believer to believe.

    After some reflection, I am beginning to see that it is unlikely (though not impossible) that the kind of evidence necessary would be such that it would of necessity carry someone beyond belief, beyond "faith," into pure knowledge. For some reason, that is not the way we have been told we are to live for now (for the most part). Apparently we are to prove ourselves first through faith, which can then become knowledge afterward. I don't know of any shortcuts to knowledge of that type.

    We have been told, of course, that even those who live without faith will eventually know to some extent what they will have missed out on. But that will hardly prepare them for any kind of greater knowledge they might have otherwise obtained.

    My conversation with Steve was along those lines. He is content with all the law he understands from the Bible and claims no need for more. I sincerely hope there is much, much more.

  22. Openminded;

    Here's something to dwell on from Book of Mormon Manuscripts:

    A page from the original Book of Mormon manuscript, covering 1 Nephi 4:38-5:14. It shows how fluent Joseph Smith's dictation was. He did not change or revise the text as he dictated. Oliver Cowdery, one of his scribes, stated, "Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth…a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven."

    (bold mine).

    This is very typical from my understanding. That Joseph Smith made little to no revisions upon the original manuscripts which were used, in part with a copy of the original manuscript, also with minute revisions, to write the Book of Mormon.

    Then there's the time frame to write that book:

    The printed versions of the Book of Mormon derive from two manuscripts. The first, called the original manuscript (O), was written by at least three scribes as Joseph Smith translated and dictated. The most important scribe was Oliver Cowdery. This manuscript was begun no later than April 1829 and finished in June 1829.

    If we were to start from April 1st of that year and end at last day of June of that year then that would be three months time to write the Book of Mormon. So, if you do not see that as an absolutely remarkable accomplishment in litrature than I would seriously question what the heck type of education my tax dollars are being spent on. Or, perhaps you'd like to start writing this April an original manuscript ,ergo; first draft, with ittle to no revisions by the end of this June. And that these very manuscripts (you can copy them once if you'd like, afterall, fair is fair) will be used to publish a 500+ page book about a group of family individuals who sprang forth two significant civilizations over a 1,000 year period complete with modes of living, dozens of personalitites as well as unique names and characterizations which are never contradicted at any part of the story. That one of these civilizations found and assimilated yet another group of people and towards the end of your story you must include yet a fourth civilization which began about 1,500 years before the first said civilization. And that at least one of this latter civilization was found by the first civilization. Also, your story must be accurate with known Hebrew style of writing, and use it consistantly. You must also be consistant theologically with another book known as the Bible. That in the end you need to show how your story compliments the Bible and even fulfills declarations ofthe Bible. That your story must contain at least one character descended from at least one person from the Bible, is faithful to that descendency, and fulfills that which is spoken from the Bible. Pick any prophecy or declaration as you will. We'll leave that wide open to you. And you must not only do all this within a maximum of three months time but you may not use and electronic device, nor modern-day buying a pen at Walmart. You must do so while fulfilling all your family and work obligations, take time off from work when you can as Joseph Smith most certainly did.

    Good luck, let me know when you're finished. Or, perhaps, you might want ot talk all this over with your smart collegues after reading a good Paul Bunyan story.

  23. Boy, that second paragraph was pretty unintelligible. I guess I forgot some commas or periods or dashes or something. Anyway, I what I think I was trying to say is that the kind of evidence that would be necessary to "convince" non-believers would likely have to be the sort that would leave no room for doubt whatsoever for anyone.

    And, sorry Darren – you probably didn't mean to attack anyone at all. I guess it's just the way I first read your response…

  24. Openminded;

    your argument seems to be that because academia has undermined belief in the literal truth and historicity of the Bible, it is only the Book of Mormon that can ground the Christian's hope in the Gospe

    it's the theology; not the history which binds Christianity and I do believe Jack was advocating that *both* the bible and Book of Mormon, the comibnation of which is unique to Mormonism, which affect that bind. I believe in both the hoistory and theology of the bible as well as the history ad theology of the Book of Mormon. Smart people in college ought to understand that American archeology is quite infantiele compared to the maturity of archeology of the Old World. College folks also ought to understand that as archeology has developed, more and more discoveries are made which authenticate the history ofthe Book of Mormon and that the archeology behind the Bible is hardly perfect. But I don't need man's science to know these books are the true words of God; neither do you.

    The missionaries and Mormon colleagues I've talked with always seem to be surprised to learn of the extent to which Joseph Smith's time and place were saturated with speculation about the origins of the northeastern Indian mounds

    Tell me about the indian mounds just a few short years ago and I would have been ,"oh really, I never knew that". So what? I suppose we should also know about the saturation of the speculation over the Indians being descendents from Jews? Unless you make a direct connection to this influencing Joseph Smith, this argument is mute.

    It usually turns out they've never heard of the Expositor.

    you mena the newspaper the mormons burned down? Did you tell these naive Mormon aquaintances that mormon newspapers have been bured down? Did you tell them that smear propaganda, which was the prime purpose of the Expositoras it was founded by apostate mormons who have previously called for killing Joseph Smith? (And, say, didn't Joseph and Hyrum Smith get murdered while under the express "protection" of Governor Ford? Why yes, yes they did). Did you tell the Mormons oblivious to their own history that said smears have resulted in attacking Mormons, murdering them, ransacking their homes and property? Did you inform these ignoramous mormons that the reason the mormons had the full legal power to shut down the Expositor was because instead of protecting their freedom of religion, the state of Illinois chartered them their own policing rights? And I'm sure you informed your poor Mormon friends that while burning down the press was illegal, it was a civil matter; not criminal? And what did the court of law rule regarding this incident?

    Sometimes they seem not to know that polygamy was contested in the early Church,

    OK, so they didn't know this. I learnedabout it during high school seminary. Were these aquaintances new members?

    And they seem never to have thought about the possibility that Brigham Young was a traitor for sending soldiers out against federal troops in the Utah War

    Really? My understanding is that the mormons were denounced as traitors and that's why the US troops were sent in the first place. So, tell me, Openminded, if you were wit a gropu of people who went into a self-imposed exile and traveled thousands of miles on foot (well, carts were used too), to a God-forsaken deset land called Utah today, and federal troops were srnt on completely fabricated charges against your people that you'd side with the federal government? If you would then, wow, I thought you were liberal. so, educate us on the utah war. Specifically on who declared Brigham younf a traitor and why. I'm all ears.

    (con't)

  25. (con't)

    or that he was guilty of obstruction of justice for failing to adequately investigate Mountain Meadows

    Say what!?!?!? Are you saying that Brigham young did a shabby investigation and had John D. Lee shot just to get the investigation over with? Or didn't Brigham Young investigate and report to the federal government all he was told from John D. Lee and that it was the, get this, *Utah War* which delayed the initial federal investigation?

    and the resulting ignorance of course helps "faith" do its work,

    Ummmm, who's being ignorant?

    There are some Jews who understand that maybe instead of honoring the Maccabees with the holiday of Chanuka we should think of them as the violent religious fundamentalists of their day

    I vote for Chanuka myself. can I vote?

  26. Without a doubt, those things would impress me deeply were I to see them.

    You cannot see what you don't first believe, or are willing to believe. It would be nothing more than some kind of deception to you, just as it was to the unbelieving of the Jews who witnessed the miracles and then proceeded to crucify Jesus.

    The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was a significant miracle. Those who were present, without exception, confirm that to be the case. Yet you dismiss it as some kind of sleight of hand – they're liars, the whole lot of them, you say.

    You dismiss the Book of Mormon as useless because it doesn't rise to the level of great literature. Yet it was intentionally written to be plain and clear rather than poetic and abstruse. The real problem you have with the book is that you have no use for God.

    Miracles don't convert. Reason and logic don't convert. What converts is living the commandments and experiencing the effect. What converts is seeking God with a willingness to obey whatever might be revealed, and following through. What converts is conducting a personal experiment on the word of God, an experiment that must involve the heart and not just the head.

    You see, the requirement of faith does not imply forcing oneself to believe something irrational; rather, it requires a willingness to act on something to see what results. At the end of the day, it is infinitely more rational than all the book learning, reasoning, and philosophizing in the world because it reveals rock-solid truth rather than theories about what the truth might be.

  27. Darren, it was not my intent to set anyone up for an attack, least of all Eveningsun. I am just curious what kind of evidence it might take for a non-believer to believe.

    Good for you. Didn't I give you a big heads up on what mostl ikely *won't* convert? After openminded linked faith with ignorance, you now want to understand what signs he'd believe in?

    Apparently we are to prove ourselves first through faith, which can then become knowledge afterward. I don't know of any shortcuts to knowledge of that type.

    I agree 100,000%. Mormonism hasn't left you entirely. ;>)

    Boy, that second paragraph was pretty unintelligible

    No problemo. I'm the king of grammar omissions and errors. To me blogging is like hte gym. I'll get better at and more careful with grammar as I do it. Just like I don't have to get fit to go to the gym, I don't have to be grammatically perfect to blog. As I go to the gym (I don't in reality) I'll get stronger and more healthy. As I blog, I'll strengthen my grammar.

    As for attacking Eveningsun, it was more of a challenge and with some contempt for what he wrote and the manner which he wrote it.

  28. OOPS!!!

    Was I absent minded tonight or what? My remarks regarding the Book of Mormon's literary geatness as well as defending Brigham Young (and Mormonism ingeneral I guess) was intended entirely to Eveningsun; not Openminded.

    (Sheesh, how embarassing?)

  29. It would be nothing more than some kind of deception to you, just as it was to the unbelieving of the Jews who witnessed the miracles and then proceeded to crucify Jesus.

    Sigh….

    The Jews didn't crucify Jesus. The Romans did. The Jews executed people by stoning, the Romans by crucifixion.

    A generation or so after the fact, people tried to finesse the question of how to blame the Jews for something actually done by the Romans, resulting in those highly implausible stories in which the Roman authority Pilate really, really didn't want to execute Jesus but just had to do it because the Jewish crowd insisted on it. Because, you know, the Romans were just so reluctant to kill, and so accommodating to the wishes of their underlings.

    Sad to say, the "Christ-killer" myth (with the aid of that nasty bit in John about the Jews being "liars from the beginning" and the children of Satan) went on to motivate centuries of murderous antisemitic violence.

    Happy to say, this same mythology has never been embraced by the LDS Church, and I'm quite surprised to see it dredged up on this blog. I could be mistaken, Pops, but I think you're really off the reservation on this one. You might want to check with the LDS authorities. If the Church does hold that the Jews killed Christ I'll be severely disappointed, as I thought the Church was above such things.

    Bearyb, I think you're right in what you "are beginning to see," namely that for the believer faith comes before evidence, not the other way around.

    Darren, I can assure you that I'm aware of the persecution of the Mormons. Oddly enough, my interlocutors seem to know much more about that persecution than they do about less faith-affirming aspects of Mormon history. Why, it's almost as if their education on these matters has been one-sided! My education about Jewish history and belief was also quite biased. But I've tried to grow beyond what I learned only from one source. I've tried to understand my people's history and beliefs in terms of a higher standard. Hence I've concluded that the Canaanite genocide (if in fact it happened and is not merely legendary) was deeply immoral, that the Pharisees' collaboration with the Roman imperialists was cowardly and craven, that the segregation of women in orthodox worship is wrong, that Menachem Begin's terrorism was inexcusable, etc. These moral judgements are not affected by the fact of antisemitism. Persecution does not automatically excuse immorality.

    Is it too much to ask that you consider the less savory aspects of Mormon history with less petty favoritism and a bit more rigor? With a little less tribalistic team spirit and a little more respect for the truth? Justice is not partisan to your church or any other. Brigham Young's failure to bring to justice those involved in Mountain Meadows was craven and immoral, period. His treason is not excusable by circumstances. Neither is the destruction of the Expositor. To think otherwise is to engage in the worst kind of self-serving moral relativism.

    It doesn't reflect well on the Church, either.

    — Eveningsun

  30. Eveningsun;

    resulting in those highly implausible stories in which the Roman authority Pilate really, really didn't want to execute Jesus but just had to do it because the Jewish crowd insisted on it

    And this isn't historical?

    22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

    23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

    24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

    Mathew 27:22-24

    I thought you believed in the historical aspects of the Bible.

    Because, you know, the Romans were just so reluctant to kill, and so accommodating to the wishes of their underlings

    Yes, based upon crimes committed they executed people. But isn't that what Pilate was questioning upon the crowd? What crime (breaking Roman law) did Jesus commit?

    with the aid of that nasty bit in John about the Jews being "liars from the beginning" and the children of Satan

    That would be John 8:44, correct? Jesus was speaking to the Jews who would kill Him and these are they who are murderers but as for those who believe: 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    For those who did not believe: 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Therefore, those who sought to kill Jesus were servants of the devil. Not only did I cite Mathew where the crowds demanded Jesu to be killed but read the very last verse in John 8: 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

    Happy to say, this same mythology has never been embraced by the LDS Church, and I'm quite surprised to see it dredged up on this blog.

    You're correct about the LDS Church not being anti-Semitic but you're the one who "dredged up the notion that Jews have been falsely accused fo crucifying Jesus. Yes, the Romans did the dirty work and unjustly so. No doubt they too will be held accountable before the father for killing His Ony Begotten Son but saying that the Jews crucufied Jeuss is factually correct according to the Bible.

    (con't)

  31. (con't)

    RE: Jewish immorality:

    You and I have spoken before regarding the immorality of the Jews. I believe God commanded the caananites to be slaughtered and therefre it was not imoral to do so. You yourself are very blessed to the extent that the Hebrews did carry out enough of that command to at least gain the land for a while; though their downfall from not fulfilling *all* what God commanded was inevitable. The descendents of these Hebrews paid dearly for their neglegance.

    Is it too much to ask that you consider the less savory aspects of Mormon history with less petty favoritism and a bit more rigor? With a little less tribalistic team spirit and a little more respect for the truth?

    No, it's not too much to ask for but isn't that what I asked from you?

    Brigham Young's failure to bring to justice those involved in Mountain Meadows was craven and immoral, period.

    Do explain. Show how he was neglegent when it was the duty of the federal government to investigate the incident.

    His treason is not excusable by circumstances.

    Here I explicitly invited / challenged you to "educate me" on this matter. Who accused him of being a traitor and why? And what of the Mormons already being declared traitors before the troops were sent?

    Neither is the destruction of the Expositor.

    Sir, if I were to liable you which caused grave harm to you, your famiy, and those you were leading, as well as the destruction of your home and properties as well as the homes and properties of your community, would you not hae the full legal right to supress my written publications? How both you and I are in agreement that burning down the press was illegal and also not necessary (though considering the circumstances I do not find it morally unjust; nor overdone) but it is hardly the deeply concerned issue as it is commonly portrayed to be. The LDS Church was taken before a court of law but yet found not liable for anything. Why is that? The LDS Church could have then arguably won a lawsuit against the state for not protecting their freedom of religion, yet the Church erred on the side of peace instead. What's also left out is that the Mormon militia could have easily defeated the mob coming against Joseph Smith, which everyone knew was coming; yet the Mormons did nothing. The Expositor is frequently cited as a case where mormons are just bad people. My reply to you is to precisely demonstrate a procurement for truth, just like you are asking for.

    It doesn't reflect well on the Church, either.

    Your depictions don't reflect well on the LDS Church and that's your biased objective.

  32. Sir, if I were to libel you which caused grave harm to you, your family, and those you were leading, as well as the destruction of your home and properties as well as the homes and properties of your community, would you not have the full legal right to suppress my written publications?

    No. No. No. Absolutely not. That's SO wrong I can't believe you actually wrote it.

    If someone libels you, you have a right to sue that person in court. You don't have a right to personally suppress anyone's publication without first going to court and winning your case (or at least a temporary injunction).

    And being libeled certainly doesn't give you the right to destroy a printing press.

    What you're saying, Darren, is that being libeled gives one the right to engage in vigilantism. That's diametrically opposed to the rule of law, not to mention profoundly un-American.

    You're also advocating a "shoot the messenger" approach. Maybe, um, it would have been better if Joseph Smith had not started practicing polygamy in the first place? At the very least, once he did start taking multiple wives, maybe he should have done it openly and explained the rationale for it? It was a stupid misjudgement for him to think his activities would not be exposed.

    Here I explicitly invited / challenged you to "educate me" on this matter. Who accused him of being a traitor and why?

    My first response here is to say, It's YOUR faith and YOUR history, so get off your you-know-what and educate YOURSELF! But okay, fine, I'll fill you in just a bit, in the hope that you'll show enough initiative to learn more on your own. Young was accused of treason by Alfred Cumming, who had been chosen by the President of the United States to replace Young as Governor of Utah Territory. The U.S. Constitution explicitly defines "treason" as levying war against the United States, which is precisely what Brigham Young did when he sent out the Nauvoo Legion to fight federal troops.* It's an open-and-shut case; lucky for Young, he was pardoned.

    — Eveningsun

    * Really, how smart do you have to be to realize it's not a good idea to send your own militia out to fight the United States Army? Don't get me wrong; Young was a very smart guy. But I'd say that in this instance his faith led him to do something really, really dumb.