Archive | November, 2012

Reasons Given to Not Believe the LDS Church: Part Two – Reformed Egyptian

28 Nov

On another thread there is a man who has given a list of reasons why he doesn’t believe the LDS church to be truth.  While I have no desire to argue that particular point, I would like to address a few of the reasons he gives.  I do this from a logical perspective, having no direct evidence at this time.  My intent is not exactly to prove his reasons false, but faulty; or to show how they are not logically thought out and thus not reasonable in an argument.

To keep things short I will address only one point in each blog.

Now, speaking of reformed Egyptian, the argument is this:  No evidence has been found of Egyptian writing in ancient America, and thus this language doesn’t exist.

Let us consider just a few things.

First, it is not unheard of for a people to use the characters of the Egyptian language with the grammar of their native language.

Terryl Givens has suggested that the characters are early examples of Egyptian symbols being used “to transliterate Hebrew words and vice versa,” that Demotic is a “reformed Egyptian,” and that the mixing of a Semitic language with modified Egyptian characters is demonstrated in inscriptions of ancient Syria and Palestine.

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 132-33.

(I take this from Wikipedea, but it is from the book that the website references.)

Now let us look at the only place in which the term ‘Reformed Egyptian’ occurs in the book of Mormon.

Mormon 9: 32-34

“And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.”

Just consider first that, although the Nephites at this time called the characters reformed Egyptian, it is also stated that they had been altered by them, as had the Hebrew characters.

Also consider that Moroni tells us that no other people know their language.  This is significant.  If it was just an altered version of Egyptian than the arguments given against it would make more sense.  But it is a different language that is simply being written in characters that have been taken and altered from the Egyptian characters had by men a thousand years earlier.

Considering that there is really only one ancient American Language that anyone has any clue about, can anyone really say with any certainty that such an alteration of characters did not take place, and did not continue to take place over the 1500 years since the time of Moroni.

Let us also consider this:  The English language was originally written in a runic alphabet.

However, after Rome invaded people began to write it in the Latin alphabet.  Even then it is vastly different from modern English.

(First page of Beowulf)

If English can change so drastically over the course of 2000 years, why could not that Nephites have altered the characters of the Egyptian Alphabet so as to make them wholly unrecognizable as such to those living today?

Reasons Given to Not Believe the LDS Church: Part One – Peoples of the Book of Mormon

28 Nov

On another thread there is a man who has given a list of reasons why he doesn’t believe the LDS church to be truth.  While I have no desire to argue that particular point, I would like to address a few of the reasons he gives.  I do this from a logical perspective, having no direct evidence at this time.  My intent is not exactly to prove his reasons false, but faulty; or to show how they are not logically thought out and thus not reasonable in an argument.

To keep things short I will address only one point in each blog.

The first point I would like to address is this:  Why is it that in the modern day the people living in Israel do not have a record of the people spoken of in the Book of Mormon?  the argument is simple; because these people are not known to modern Israeli’s they could not have existed.

Here are two quotes given for this argument:

“I have never been to Book of Mormon lands or meet people or have eaten the food. Yet I can say I did this with Israel.”

http://blog.mrm.org/2012/10/a-response-to-hellen-riebolds-unfounded-rebuke-of-a-christian-brother/#comments – comment posted November 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

“I have been to Israel as well as Many on this blog, and many people in General, yet no Jew that I ever spoke with have mentioned any Book of Mormon people.”

http://blog.mrm.org/2012/11/mormonism-and-polytheism/comment-page-2/#comments – comment posted November 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

Here is the problem with this argument.  If you read the full account of the Book of Mormon you will see that only two families are mentioned; Lehi and Ishmael.  Lehi had four sons and an unknown number of daughters.  Ishmael had two sons and five daughters (married the four sons of Lehi and Zoram).  If we include Zoram in this count it totals 18 people.  The only other person mentioned by name is Laban, for a total of 19.  If we make the assumption that Lehi had other daughters, and that the sons of Ishmael also had children we could get a nice average of 25 people.

Even given the account of the wealth of Lehi and Ishmael, and the power of Laban, is it really so surprising that knowledge of this two dozen or so people has been lost 2500 years later.  Especially considering that it was less than a decade later that Israel was destroyed by Babylon.  I would love to see the statistic for how well preserved the family records of that time are today.

The reason I mention this is simple:  At this time they were not yet “the Book of Mormon People,” meaning the Nephites and Lamanites.  They were Jews like all the rest living in Jerusalem.  As such knowledge of them would be no more probable than it is for any family that lived at that time.

As to the people of the Book of Mormon, or the nations that were descended from this two dozen people, of course they are not known in the records of the modern Jews and thus cannot be found in Israel.  They didn’t live in Israel, and were completely cut off from the rest of the world.  You might as well argue that the American Indian didn’t exist because they are not found in the Old World.  The Jews won’t mention them because they are not part of the history of Israel anymore.

Now, I really like the quote about meeting the Jews and eating their food; but not being able to meet the people of the Book of Mormon, or eat their food.  I would like to end with a response to this.

Anyone who has eaten at the table of the American Indians and interacted with that culture has met the people of the Book of Mormon and ate their food.  The people who were native to these continents before the Europeans came are the people of the Book of Mormon (or what is left of them).  I have met some of them myself, and have eaten some of their food.

I hope this makes sense to those who read it.

John 3: 16-17

12 Nov

I would just like to make a brief comment on the passage of John 3: 16-17. The KJV of the Bible renders the passage like this:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Now, many people like to use this passage to prove that all we need to do is believe to be saved, thus do away with any need to actually obey the commands of God or to even act in a generally decent manner. After all, I believe, so I am saved.

To this point I would like to point out a few aspects of this passage that show how much in error this interpretation really is. I will focus a just a few words that actually make the passage say something much different.

First, in verse 16 it says “should not perish.” This is very important to note as the term ‘should’ does not give a guarantee. It is not saying that those who believe will be saved, but that they have no reason why they shouldn’t be saved.

Second, in verse 17 we read “might be saved.” Again this makes nothing guaranteed, but gives only the possibility of salvation. Because of Christ and his atonement there is the possibility of the world being saved, and this was his mission. He was not sent to kill the wicked, but to make it possible for them to become the righteous.

With these two notes in mind we can see that what this passage is saying is not that all we need do is believe. What it is saying is that if we believe then we have no excuse not to be saved, for we understand the gospel and the commandments of God. Our faith should lead to obedience, and thus “whosoever believeth in [Christ] should not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ gave us all the possibility of salvation, providing the way and means for us to achieve it, however this does not mean we are not required to do our part.