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 Post subject: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:16 pm 
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The apologists now concede, largely due to DNA research, that the Lehites were a tiny group who lived among a far larger native population. This major retreat creates enormous problems for the apologists because the Book of Mormon account is silent about any merger between the Lehite and Native American civilizations. I recently stumbled on apologetics that attempts to explain how this miraculous merger of Old and New World cultures took place. Its covered in a 4 minute segment in a 2015 BYU documentary called “Journey of Faith: The New World.” It turns out Nephi was just a really amazing guy at getting stuff done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pIBTr-x2gs

The segment of the DVD (16:16 to 19:50) covering the marvelous merger features John Sorenson and Brant Gardner (of course) with additional gravitas provided by Daniel Peterson and some touchy feely provided by a couple of sweet sisters.

The magnitude of the problem facing the apologists is perfectly described by Brant Gardner in this classic of pretzel-speak.

Quote:
The Book of Mormon never specifically tells us that they joined with other peoples, but everything that the Book of Mormon tells us indicates that they had to have joined with other peoples - Brant Gardner


In other words Mormons need to stop thinking about what the Book of Mormon actually says and allow the apologists to tell you what it says. The thinking has been done for you.

The DVD apologists argue that within 30 years of their arrival in the New World, Nephi took charge of the city of Kaminaljuyu in the Guatemalan Highlands and spurred its rapid cultural and technological development. This seemingly unbelievable power transition was achieved because Nephi was a “can do kinda guy.” That’s about as deep as the scholarship goes. The apologists zeroed in on Kaminaljuyu because of its central importance in early Mayan cultural development, especially the development of writing.

1. The true history of Kaminaljuyu
Kaminaljuyu was primarily occupied from 1500 BC to AD 1200 and it is where we see the earliest developments of Mayan language and culture. Michael Coe considers it one of the greatest of all archaeological sites in the New World.

Kaminaljuyu lies under modern day Guatemala City, which is located in a highly fertile valley in the Guatemalan highlands (alt 2000m) surrounded by volcanoes. The valley has been widely inhabited for over 10,000 years. Major settlements began to appear in 900–800 BC and by 400 BC there were dense populations found in the city and numerous surrounding towns.

Unlike most lowland Mayan cities, which were constructed of more durable limestone, buildings in Kaminaljuyu were mostly constructed of hardened adobe bricks. Well-developed agricultural production systems for cotton, maize, avocados, cacao, beans, palm nuts, plums, and sapodilla etc were practiced throughout the valley and underpinned the development of cities. Specialists practiced loom weaving and were expert potters. Large-scale workshops for obsidian tool making were spread around the ancient city. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaminaljuyu)

2. Book of Mormon account
Thankfully, because the larger plates contain the drawn out detailed history, the peaceful take-over of Kaminaljuyu is described in a handful of verses in 2nd Nephi (2Ne 5:5-10, 15) (See https://www.LDS.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/5?lang=eng).

Quote:
5 And it came to pass that the Lord did awarn me, that I, bNephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also aZoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the bwarnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.
7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.
8 And my people would that we should call the name of the place aNephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.
9 And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the apeople of Nephi.
10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the astatutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the blaw of Moses.
11 And the Lord was with us; and we did aprosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.
15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.


3. Magical Merger apologetic
Those with a rudimentary knowledge of early Mayan civilization might see no resemblance between what archeology has discovered and what Joseph Smith revealed about this meeting of Old and New World cultures. Looks like the perfect job for the apologists. Here are some direct quotes from the DVD. Buckle up.

Quote:
Brant Gardner:
“When Nephi and his family separate from his brothers they go up over the mountains and come into highland Guatemala where they found the City of Nephi. … The best candidate for the City of Nephi would probably be in the area of Kaminaljuyu.”

John Sorenson
“Kaminaljuyu was in fact the seedbed of civilization in southern Mesoamerica and that is the picture we get for the city of Nephi in many ways.”

Brant Gardner
“Within a relatively short period of time the descriptions we are hearing about the city of Nephi indicates there were a large number of people there, so this is a remarkable accomplishment in a very short period of time. For someone to not only be able to gather large numbers of people together but to coordinate; to get them to live in the same area, to get them to have the same basic beliefs, to get them to have the same economic system, to get them working together rather than working separately and Nephi’s able to do that - pull them together.”

John Sorenson
“The sudden development is what I would expect of an immigrant party with a high level of skill; technologically; but maybe more intellectually and culturally, being inserted into a place and building in a new environment a new manifestation of civilization.”

Alejandro Gonzalez
“The influence of who dominates whom; the small arriving culture or the existing culture, is the one with more success. Who has more success in technological matters, in agricultural matters and in constructing buildings?”


So there you have it. The wilderness Nephi walked through contained many Mayan towns and villages and well established farming communities. They walked past fields of maize and cotton and orchards of sapodilla and avocado. They erected their tents in Kaminaljyu and began their Old World farming as though nobody was there. Then "can do kinda guy" Nephi walked up to the leaders of Kaminaljuyu and took leadership of the city, organized their economic system, converted them to their foreign Hebrew beliefs and got them working on team Nephi. But he chose not to mention this part of the history on his small plates because it wasn’t important.

Apart from being totally ludicrous, this scenario raises a pile of problems. Why would the Lamanites bother to follow them, past dozens of other Mayan settlements, just to fight with them? Its madness!

How did Nephi communicate with the leaders of Kaminaljuyu? Was he miraculously able to speak their language? If his technology was so impressive why do we see no evidence of metallurgy in the archaeological record at Kaminaljuyu? Why did they still use obsidian when Nephi had introduced them to the manufacture of iron, steel, copper and brass? Why doesn’t Kaminaljuyu stand out among the dozens of other Mayan cities that were all culturally connected? Why did their agricultural system not noticeably change? Why did they keep their old-fashioned Mayan written language?

This is the most pitiable apologetics I have encountered. It’s hardly surprising given Sorenson and Gardner are career apologists with essentially no publication history in peer-reviewed scientific literature. They have never experienced the intellectual rigour of peer-review outside of the BYU echo chamber. It was particularly sad to hear Alejandro Gonzalez whitewash over the true history of his people. The blatant racist, cultural imperialism in this apologetics is hard to stomach, particularly from a Native American. To make matters worse both Sorenson and Gardner have their names appear in the DVD when they are speaking. Gonzalez, who is the Director of the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone in Mexico appears nameless and tieless and is only acknowledged in the end credits.

At some point it must get less embarrassing to face up to the fraud than to continue to perpetuate it. Are we there yet?

Note: Mitochondrial DNA research on in excess of 2,000 Mesoamericans and over 660 Mayans has revealed no Hebrew DNA. Whole genome research has also failed to uncover any evidence of Middle Eastern DNA in the Maya at a level of sensitivity approaching 1 in 10,000. In other words, they have effectively screened the genomes of 10,000 Mayans and found nothing.

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Last edited by Res Ipsa on Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Title change in preparation for splitting thread


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:34 pm 
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Excellent points!

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:27 pm 
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I watched the movie Apocalypto and their civilization was very brutal I imagine research provided to make it authentic. Except for human sacrifice were the other cultural elements close to the Mayan way?

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:30 pm 
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The above is such nonsense, such gaslighting by the apologists that I wonder how they can do it and live with themselves? Do they present this stuff to non-mormon archaeologists or at least try to publish this nonsense in respected secular journals? It boggles the mind how far some will go to support an insupportable religion

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:37 am 
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I enjoyed your post Simon. The apologists are preaching something I was never taught. Ether 13:2 rules out any claim of a far larger native population that the Book of Mormon is silent about.

"after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof"

It isn't even the same church that I once belonged to.

aussieguy55 wrote:
I watched the movie Apocalypto and their civilization was very brutal I imagine research provided to make it authentic. Except for human sacrifice were the other cultural elements close to the Mayan way?


That movie was riddled with inaccuracies and was not authentic. Actual scholars spoke out against it. Here are a couple of sources detailing the problems with it.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2006 ... ast-racism

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... o-mel.html


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:45 am 
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In this instance, moving the goalposts isn't enough. Because you need a target the size of Nebraska to get both arrows to be in the centre. The only thing that can solve this is to have some seriously immoral dudes posing for religious apologists, putting their name to the dung, hoping that the faithful will brush over yet another "shelf issue".

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:36 am 
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15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

Where it talks about metalsmithing it is generally understood to be leatherwork and pottery making. Something to do with a glitch in the seer stone matrix.

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:08 am 
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I had a brief exchange with Brant Gardner on the other board recently. His main idea on this point is that "Lamanites" means aboriginal Americans, and so in fact the Book of Mormon talks a lot about aboriginal American neighbors to the Nephites. My impression is that he chalks up any awkwardnesses, in fitting this theory to the text, to loose translation on Smith's part and political spin on Mormon's part.

I'm guessing Gardner would acknowledge that one would normally expect "Lamanite" to mean descendants of Laman, rather than referring to a group that was already large before Laman came on the scene. I figure he'll just shrug this off as a minor flesh wound, so to speak: Yeah, the Book of Mormon uses "Lamanite" weirdly, but weird stuff happens in ancient language. One little language quirk is a much less damaging weakness in the Book of Mormon, anyway, than total omission of all aboriginal cultures would be. So the Lamanite=Mayan idea is a way for the Book of Mormon to take a big hit on the glove instead of the chin.

On the other board I let Gardner leave it at that. He gave a straight, clear answer, and I like that much better than the long runarounds you often get from apologists. I don't know nearly enough about Mayans or the Book of Mormon to press more on this issue. For what it's worth, my guess is that Gardner won't be a pushover on this. He's willing to concede a fair amount of weirdness and distortion in the text, while maintaining that it really is ancient, so I'd be surprised if you could really catch him in something utterly silly. I think you'd need a pretty big bullet to shoot his theory down.


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:13 am 
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How does it fit the God-directed manifest destiny of the Book of Mormon if anonymous peoples are there with the chosen?


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:40 am 
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I don't know. I think Gardner may just be throwing Mormon under the bus, here, and calling those verses propaganda.


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:25 am 
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Simon Southerton wrote:
So there you have it. The wilderness Nephi walked through contained many Mayan towns and villages and well established farming communities. They walked past fields of maize and cotton and orchards of sapodilla and avocado. They erected their tents in Kaminaljyu and began their Old World farming as though nobody was there. Then "can do kinda guy" Nephi walked up to the leaders of Kaminaljuyu and took leadership of the city, organized their economic system, converted them to their foreign Hebrew beliefs and got them working on team Nephi. But he chose not to mention this part of the history on his small plates because it wasn’t important.

Note: Mitochondrial DNA research on in excess of 2,000 Mesoamericans and over 660 Mayans has revealed no Hebrew DNA. Whole genome research has also failed to uncover any evidence of Middle Eastern DNA in the Maya at a level of sensitivity approaching 1 in 10,000.

Maybe I don't understand the DNA (well not maybe) but if they are so sure of specific settings for the Book of Mormon shouldn't they be able to test the remains from those locations and time periods to see if there was any sudden infusion of foreign DNA? When asked about this question in the MAD thread, Brant replied.

Brant Gardner @ MAD wrote:
There has been a lot of advancement in DNA in the last 10 years. I'm very much inexpert, but I know an expert (that both makes me cool and knowledgeable, of course). I assume that you have seen the results of the Iceland DNA studies where fully half of the original inhabitants' DNA didn't survive in the descendants? As I said, survival is the most surprising fact.

Now, what about finding DNA from populations around Book of Mormon times? That is a problem of selection and location. Let's say we have a large sample of skeletons from 400 BC, but they come from over 100 miles from where we think the Book of Mormon took place? If there is no ANE DNA, what does that mean? While there are large movements of population over time, the reality of most real lives during most of pre-modern history is that people didn't travel more than a day or two walking distance from their home during their entire lives. If there is a survival of ANE DNA, you not only have to hit the right time periods, but probably a bulls-eye on a specific city. The longer the Book of Mormon goes on, the less uniqueness--so you wouldn't expect a more dense sample until you approached say 600-400 BC in the city of Nephi. Then, you have to get lucky and find the slight markers from among the larger population. On top of that, you would have to recognize it as different. As several scientists have pointed out, we don't even know what we are looking for.

There has recently been a find of a mummified remain that was identified as Caucasian rather than Asian. We have the Kennewick man as well as evidence that there was a population that didn't fit the DNA that has survived. So losing DNA is hardly surprising. We could actually expect that those early populations would have stayed together much longer than the Lehites--but their DNA didn't survive


http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/70663-the-dna-issue-again/?page=7&tab=comments#comment-1209829378

So it seems to me the apologists want it both ways. They want to claim they know where the Nephites lived but simultaneously claim they are not at that specific location. Shouldn't it be easy to disprove Sorenson's work or at least this claim of their takeover of Kaminaljyu by DNA testing of remains from the areas and time frames he claims were inhabited by the Nephites?

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Last edited by Fence Sitter on Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:47 am 
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That was pretty painful to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:48 pm 
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moksha wrote:
Quote:
15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

Where it talks about metalsmithing it is generally understood to be leatherwork and pottery making. Something to do with a glitch in the seer stone matrix.

Good think he didn't teach them how to make a pencil.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/I,_Pencil


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:21 pm 
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I like this theory about Nephi, and it is further confirmed by evidence from the Old World. The sixth century was the great age of the political entrepreneurs and washed-out aristocrats known in Greek history as the tyrants. The tyrants were enterprising figures who, much like Nephi, took a can-do attitude to seizing power and keeping it.

Peisistratus seized control at Athens, for example, but a host of fellow-tyrants could be found throughout the Mediterranean basin. The closest example (and contemporary) to Nephi must be Tarquinius Priscus (also known erroneously as Lucumo), who couldn't make his way into political power in Etruria because his father was a Corinthian, and Corinth was a breeding ground of tryants! And so he hitched his wagon and loaded his possessions, Lehi-like, for a journey to a Promised Land: the city of Rome. The journey even had a divine blessing. Through a fortunate combination of his own wiles, a clever wife, and Roman gullibility, he made himself tyrant of the city and inaugurated a dynasty of white and delightsome kings.

Once again, the Book of Mormon fits snugly into its ancient context.

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:37 pm 
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I tried to engage Brant and Clark Goble on the other board and had to withdraw due to frustration. I am too tired to deal with the gaslighting and nonsense. I think they are going into full denial mode and one must never go that far ....

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Exiled wrote:
I tried to engage Brant and Clark Goble on the other board and had to withdraw due to frustration. I am too tired to deal with the gaslighting and nonsense. I think they are going into full denial mode and one must never go that far ....


I like Brant and know he's sincere. I just don't see how Kaminaljuyu works at all as the Land of Nephi. But apparently I must know the weakness of my position because I don't engage these kinds of low-level, tenuous connections. :rolleyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:18 pm 
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Does anyone ever explain where this large native population came from, when they arrived or how they traveled to America? It would have to have been after the flood, so the scientific explanations of the land bridge 10K+ years ago is out the window. Actually the land bridge was thousands of years before Adam and Eve left the garden so the even if you argue a local flood there is a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:28 pm 
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oliblish wrote:
Does anyone ever explain where this large native population came from, when they arrived or how they traveled to America? It would have to have been after the flood, so the scientific explanations of the land bridge 10K+ years ago is out the window. Actually the land bridge was thousands of years before Adam and Eve left the garden so the even if you argue a local flood there is a problem.


It only makes sense if one is conditioned by the group to believe it makes sense. Otherwise, there are probably over 1000 reasons why it doesn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:40 pm 
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So, if all these types were already here just When did God smite them with a skin of darkness so they would not be enticing to White and Delightsome types?

Did he do it centuries before Nephi showed up?

Were they White and Delightsome until Nephi started calling them Lamanites and God zapped their skin all at once - all the tribes and such across the Americas and South Seas?

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:22 pm 
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The Book of Mormon never specifically tells us that they joined with other peoples, but everything that the Book of Mormon tells us indicates that they had to have joined with other peoples - Brant Gardner

This reminds me of a classic post from Darth J from over seven years ago around here. Here is this classic post of his:

Link

Quote:
For an example of the relentless special pleading and shoot-from-the-hip explanations, let's look at what FAIR has to say about filling in the blanks in the Book of Mormon narrative. Here's a quote from a FAIR brochure by Mike Ash about the presence of "others" in the Book of Mormon:

While the Book of Mormon never explicitly states that others lived among the people, there are implicit hints that such was the case. Also, we know from archaeological and anthropological studies that others lived in the New World prior to, during, and after Book of Mormon periods.


Got that? Because we know that people who were not Hebrew immigrants from Jerusalem lived in the pre-Columbian Western hemisphere, we can read the Book of Mormon to find "implicit hints" that the Nephites were aware of all these other civilizations--even though the Book of Mormon doesn't say that. In other words, while the Book of Mormon never mentions all of these pre-existing peoples in the New World, we can infer "implicit hints" about them because we need the Book of Mormon to acknowledge this for it to be consistent with history and archaeology.

But what about anachronisms implied by the Book of Mormon? Let's take Alma 11 as an example, where a Nephite system of exchange is described in a way that sounds a whole lot like coinage to most people---including the LDS Church, which has the following in the chapter heading to Alma 11: "Nephite coinage set forth." That's a problem, though, because coinage did not exist in the Americas at the time this narrative is supposed to be happening.

Well, according to FAIR, that's when we need to stick to what the text explicitly says. Here's a FAIR video talking about coins in the Book of Mormon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNt2aE_UM8g

At about 1:13 on this video, Dr. Daniel C. Peterson states that the Book of Mormon says nothing about the Nephite pieces of metal being stamped or minted, which would make them coins, and since the Book of Mormon doesn't say this, we shouldn't read this into the text.

Now let's recap. When the absence of something in the Book of Mormon (mentioning the any number of millions of people in the Western Hemisphere who were not Hebrew refugees) is problematic to the narrative being a real story, then we need to look at "implicit hints" to read things into the text that we need to be there. But when the presence of something in the Book of Mormon is problematic to the narrative being a real story (a system of metal pieces used as currency that almost everyone, including the Church, reads as coinage), then we need to look only at what the text explicitly says and not infer things that are not spelled out clearly in the text.

Both of these ad hoc explanations come from the same apologist organization: FAIR. And there is no coherent methodology as to how FAIR determines when we need to read between the lines and when we need to read the exact words literally. No methodology, that is, except apologetic expediency.

As a side note, take a look at how Dr. Peterson, Kerry Shirts, and other friends of FAIR are so dismissive of the chapter headings put in the Book of Mormon by the LDS Church---the headings are "almost certainly wrong" and are not part of the original text. In other words, the LDS Church does not understand its own scriptures. How fortunate that we have these apologists to remove such "roadblocks to faith" as the fundamentalist notion that the LDS Church would have any idea what it is talking about when it explains the Book of Mormon narrative.

The LDS Church has changed the chapter heading to Alma 11 since then. Here is the link to the old chapter heading of Alma 11:

http://classic.scriptures.LDS.org/en/alma/11

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 Post subject: Re: Nephi: A can do kinda guy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:33 pm 
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Physics Guy wrote:
His main idea on this point is that "Lamanites" means aboriginal Americans, and so in fact the Book of Mormon talks a lot about aboriginal American neighbors to the Nephites. My impression is that he chalks up any awkwardnesses, in fitting this theory to the text, to loose translation on Smith's part and political spin on Mormon's part.


So the Lamanites vastly outnumbered the Nephites but never managed to wipe the Nephites out.

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I'm guessing Gardner would acknowledge that one would normally expect "Lamanite" to mean descendants of Laman, rather than referring to a group that was already large before Laman came on the scene. I figure he'll just shrug this off as a minor flesh wound, so to speak: Yeah, the Book of Mormon uses "Lamanite" weirdly, but weird stuff happens in ancient language. One little language quirk is a much less damaging weakness in the Book of Mormon, anyway, than total omission of all aboriginal cultures would be. So the Lamanite=Mayan idea is a way for the Book of Mormon to take a big hit on the glove instead of the chin.


And that's a complete load of rubbish. The Book of Mormon specifically says the Lamanites hunted for beast of prey in the wilderness. The Mayans were sophisticated farmers. Cultural resemblance = zero.

Quote:
For what it's worth, my guess is that Gardner won't be a pushover on this. He's willing to concede a fair amount of weirdness and distortion in the text, while maintaining that it really is ancient, so I'd be surprised if you could really catch him in something utterly silly. I think you'd need a pretty big bullet to shoot his theory down.


My only interest in Gardner is in the pseudoscience he puts out there. His conclusions are fixed. He will never concede the Book of Mormon is white man's mythology. He's an apologist down to his bootlaces. I'm happy to help a few sincere truth seekers avoid being sucked in by his nonsense.

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Last edited by Simon Southerton on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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